At least 38 people, including 12 women and four children, were killed and 40 others injured when an overloaded bus carrying pilgrims from the Saptashringi shrine in the district fell into a gorge at Nanduri near Nasik in Maharashtra.
The accident occurred last night at around 2230 hours when the bus skidded off the road after the driver lost control and it fell into a 600-ft gorge, Nasik Superintendent of Police Nikhil Gupta said.
"The private luxury bus was overloaded and was carrying 76 people. According to the survivors, the driver had been driving the bus since the last four days," he said.
The bus was on a tour of shrines in the district and was on its way back to Nasik when the mishap took place.
The victims hailed from Mumbai's Warali suburb.
Nasik District Magistrate Yash Seturanchaoplingam said the bus fell into the gorge while negotiating a hairpin bend. The bus broke into two parts due to the impact of the collision.
The injured, including the driver, have been admitted to Kalwan, Vani and Nasik civil hospitals, he said.
District Collector S Chokalingam said rescue operations were going on and seven to eight ambulances have been rushed to the spot.
The bodies of those killed in the mishap have been shifted to the Nasik civil hospital.
The toll may go up as the condition of the some of the injured persons is critical.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal visited the accident spot at Nanduri in the district this morning.
Bhujbal, who is also incharge of Nasik district, visited the civil hospital and inquired about the health of the injured.
Later, talking to reporters, Bhujbal announced financial assistance of Rs one lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and between Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 to the injured.
He said the government will also provide assistance in shifting the seriously injured to Mumbai for treatment.
Bhujbal said there were total 81 passengers in the bus.
He said considering the serious accident, government is thinking of banning heavy vehicles on Nanduri ghat during night.
Fourteen bodies have been identified so far, sources said.
Bodies kept at the Kalwan cottage hospital were also shifted to the Civil hospital.
|Liveleak on Facebook|