UTTARKASHI: At least 21 pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh were killed when their bus fell into Bhagirathi river near Nalupani this evening while returning from Gangotri shrine in the Himalayas.
The mishap occurred at around 6 pm as the bus fell 300 metres down the road into the river, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Shrivastava said.
Twenty bodies have so far been recovered from the spot and one of the seven injured died at the hospital, he said.
Rescue efforts by the SDRF, the ITBP and police personnel under the supervision of senior officials are continuing in darkness. There were around 29 pilgrims, mostly from Indore, in the bus at the time of the accident, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the accident. He also announced Rs 50,000 from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for those seriously injured.
On Chadham yatra since May 12, these pilgrims had already visited Yamunotri and Gangotri and were on way to Haridwar from where they had to go to Kedarnath, he said. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan experssed grief over the tragedy and issued instructions for immediate aid to the victims.