Several pilgrims are feared dead and over 30 injured after a bus carrying Amarnath Yatris fell into the gorge in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. 19 injured are being airlifted for treatment.
The bus carrying the pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal said.
Police said that in the afternoon one yatra bus bearing registration No. Jk02Y-0594 fell into Nashrana Nallah in which about 40-42 yatris were travelling. Traffic movement on Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been stopped temporarily due to landslides at Khuni Nallah and Ramsoo.
PM Modi also expressed his grief over the incident.
Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has spoken to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti regarding the unfortunate accident near Ramban. He said, ” My heart goes out to the families of Amarnath Yatris who lost their loved ones in the bus accident. My prayers are with the injured. Spoke to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Muftiji regarding the unfortunate accident of the bus carrying Amarnath Yatris near Ramban.”
Witnesses said that local residents started a rescue operation immediately after the accident occurred and were soon joined by the police and a column of the Army.
Members of the State Disaster Management Force too have rushed to the area. Two Army helicopters too were pressed into service, reports added.
The 40-day Amarnath yatra started on June 29 from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district. It is scheduled to culminate on August 7, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
More than two lakh yatris have paid obeisance at the cave shrine so far.
However, forty pilgrims have died in the first 18 days of the yatra including eighteen in mishaps, 14 due to cardiac arrest and other ailments and the remaining eight in the July 10 terror violence at Botengo in Anantnag district.