Jammu: Fifteen people, believed to be Amarnath pilgrims, were killed and 18 others injured when a SRTC bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and rolled down into a deep gorge in Ramban district.

The State Road Transport Corporation bus was on its way from Kashmir Valley to Jammu, rolled down into Digdol nallah around 2320 hours last night, Superintendent of Police (Ramban) Anil Magotra told.

In the mishap, 15 people have died and 18 others were injured, some of them critically, he said.

Magotra, who led the rescue work, said the operation concluded this morning with the recovery of 14 bodies. One of the victims died at GMC hospital in Jammu.

The injured have been admitted to the Ramban district hospital from where some of the critical were referred to GMC hospital, the SP said, adding that most of the victims were outsiders.

"It appears that they are Amarnath pilgrims. But we need to verify the registration documents to give their account," the SP said.

"Most probably they are Amarnath pilgrims. But we have to go through a process to ensure compensation in case the victims are Amarnath pilgrims," an official attached with the PCR said here.

The government has asked the Deputy Commissioner and SP of Ramban to identify the possible Amarnath yatris among the victims, he said.

In another mishap, six Vaishnodevi pilgrims were injured in a head-on collision between a car and Tata Sumo in Katra belt of Reasi district late on Saturday night.

The injured have been hospitalised.

CM announces ex-gratia for victims


Expressing grief over the death of 15 persons in a road mishap, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of each victim.

An official spokesman said that Omar sanctioned an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each in favour of the next of kin of the pilgrims who died in the accident.

He also sanctioned a sum of Rs 10,000 each for those injured in the mishap that took place in Ramban district last night, he said.

Fifteen people, believed to be Amarnath pilgrims, were killed and 18 others injured when an SRTC bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar highway and rolled down into a deep gorge.

The State Road Transport Corporation bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims was on its way from Kashmir Valley to Jammu when it rolled down into the Digdol nallah around 2320 hours on Saturday night.

(Agencies)

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