NEW DELHI, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — At least 16 people have been killed and 28 others injured after a private passenger bus plunged into a gorge in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh Saturday, a senior police official said.
“The mishap took place near the state’s Mandi town, some 200 kms from Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla, when the driver lost control of the speeding bus that was also overloaded. The bus soon rolled into a gorge,” he said, on condition of anonymity.
While 16 people died on the spot, those injured have been rushed to a hospital where the condition of some are said to be serious, the official said.
“The death toll could go up later in the evening,” he added.
Local TV channels showed footage of rescuers bringing out bodies from the ill-fated bus with the help of locals, who were the first to rush to the scene.
The state government has announced compensation to the families of those killed. “While 28 people are being treated free of charge, a compensation of 5 lakh Indian rupees (10,000 U.S. dollars) will be given to the family members of the 16 people who died,” state Transport Minister GS Bali said.
A probe has been ordered into the incident, the police official said, adding that prima facie the accident seemed to be the result of overloading.
India records one of the highest road accidents in the world, with over 130,000 people dying every year, mostly due to poor condition of roads, overspeeding and drunk driving, according to official figures.