The private tourist bus was carrying 52 pilgrims and was on its way from Anadpur Sahib to Manikaran. Most of the victims hailed from Barnala and Mansa area, police said.

Massive search operations have been launched and eight bodies have been recovered so far and 18 rescued persons have been rushed to trauma centre at Kullu hospital while 26 persons are feared to have been washed away, they added.

The chances of survival of missing persons are slim as the river was swollen and the bodies seems to have been swept away by gushing waters, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar said.

The divers from BBMB have been requisitioned and police, ITBP and workers of Parbati project have joined the rescue operations. The cause of accident could not be ascertained and the victims are yet to be identified.

Health Minister JP Nadda expressed grief over the tragic bus mishap in Sarsari Kullu district in which eight people died and offered condolences to the families of the deceased