PHULBANI: At least eight persons were killed and 30 others injured when a mini truck fell into a gorge near Puiguda ghat under Bamunigaon police station limits in Kandhamal district on Tuesday.
Police sources said the mishap took place when the ill-fated mini truck carrying around 40 persons including women from Tajungia and Hatimunda villages plunged off the ghat and fell in the gorge.
"The people were going to attend a function in Katingia church. Driver of the mini truck lost control over the vehicle while it was crossing the Puiguda ghat. It fell from a height of nearly 30 foot," said a police official.
While six bodies have been recovered so far, efforts are on to recover other bodies that might have trapped under the wreckage of the vehicle. With the help of locals, police and fire services personnel
have rescued the injured from the spot.
The injured were rushed to Bamunigaon PHC. Later 12 were shifted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital at Berhampur after their condition deteriorated.
Rescue operation is still under progress to ensure that no one is trapped. Tension prevailed at the spot as irate locals and relatives of the deceased and injured persons blocked the road demanding adequate compensation.
Senior administrative officials including Kandhamal district collector and sub-collector rushed to the hospital and assured that their demands will be considered.
State Transport Minister Nrusingha Charan Sahu, however, blamed the people for the mishap. He has asked the local RTO to inquire into it and submit a report. "Lack of awareness among people has led to the accident. Action will be taken if any official is found responsible for it," he assured.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief on the death of eight people and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for next of kin of deceased and free medical treatment for all injured persons.