52 die in India as bus plunges into gorgeAgence France-Presse . Shimla
At least 52 people were killed and 45 injured when a heavily overloaded bus plunged into a gorge Saturday in northern India, in one of the worst road accidents in the country in recent years.
The bus, which was carrying over 100 passengers – many of them on the roof – veered off the road in a sparsely populated and hilly area of the state of Himachal Pradesh.
‘Fifty-two people have been killed and 45 injured in the accident,’ Sunil Chaudhary, district deputy commissioner, said, adding the death toll could rise because at least a dozen of the injured were in a critical condition.
There were anguished scenes as families came to claim the bodies of the victims. Many of the dead had boarded the 42-seater bus when their own bus broke down, locals said.
Some of the bodies were taken away by their families for cremation while the state government brought in four truckloads of wood to cremate other victims at the accident site.
The cause was not immediately known but some witnesses said that the driver lost control of the vehicle on a sharp bend.
The accident occurred in the morning near Chamba town, about 190 kilometres from the state capital Shimla. The area where the accident happened is treacherous and known for zig-zag turns.
Villagers were the first to reach the accident site and frantically struggled to pull the dead and injured from the twisted wreckage. Later, emergency crews arrived, covering the dead in white sheets.
The bus had been on its way to Chamba from Dulera when it flew off the road. Thirty-nine people were killed instantly while the others died on the way to hospital, Chaudhary said.
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