CHANDIGARH: At least six pilgrims died and more than 12 persons sustained injuries when a private tourist bus from Punjab went off the road and fell into the swollen Parvati in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
The chances of survival of the 29 other passengers, who remained unaccounted for, are pretty bleak as the ill-fated vehicle could not be traced so far.
The death toll could increase as the bus had 51 passengers, hailing from Barnala and Mansa towns in Punjab, who were on their way to famous gurdwara at Manikaran. The ill-fated bus met with the accident at Sarsari village on the Bhuntar-Manikaran road, some eight km from Bhuntar.
Kullu Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar said six bodies have been fished out and the rescue operations are on. "The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. The injured were admitted to government hospitals in Kullu.The bus is still untraceable. Most the bodies might be either struck inside the bus or may have been washed away," he said.
The state government has sought the help of divers from Bhakra Beas Management board (BBMB) to locate the bodies. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who condoled the deaths, directed the district administration to intensify the search operation, besides providing all possible assistance to the injured victims