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Uttarakhand: Bus falls into 700 ft gorge, kills at least 14

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At least 14 people are reported to be dead and 17 have been injured in a bus accident as it fell into a 250-metre gorge.  The Uttarakhand Transport Corporation bus skidded off the Rishikesh-Gangotri Highway and fell into the gorge near Suryadhar.  Around 25 people were reported to be travelling in the bus.

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Soon after the mishap, the local administration and police rushed to the spot. There were 25 people onboard the bus when the accident took place.

Six of the injured were reportedly in a critical condition, and had to be airlifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh.

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Sources in the State Disaster Response Force stated that the bus, at around 7:45 am, coming from Uttarkashi’s Badkot, fell into a 250-metre gorge in Suryadhar area.

The state government directed helicopters to be made available to bring as many injured as possible to AIIMS. It has also announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each to families of the deceased. The injured will also be given Rs 50,000 as compensation. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

“Rescue machinery was immediately put into action at the district as well as the state levels. The helicopter is in the process of airlifting victims. District magistrate Sonika is at the accident site, monitoring the rescue and relief work,” said secretary (disaster) Amit Singh Negi.

Earlier in July, forty-eight passengers were killed after their bus fell into a 200-metre-deep gorge in Pauri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand. While 45 of them died on the spot, the critically injured were rushed to the hospital. Nearly 50 passengers were travelling in the 28-seater bus which was headed for Ramnagar from Bhoan. The reason for the accident is not known yet, police said.

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