GUWAHATI: Around 30 people were killed when a bus, which they were travelling in, skidded off the road and rolled 500 feet down into a gorge at Sonapur in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills on Tuesday night. The ill-fated bus, belonging to Arihan Travels, was en route to Guwahati from southern Assam’s Barak Valley.
Officially, 38 persons, including four staff, were on board the vehicle but boarding by some on the way was not ruled out.
“So far, only six to seven bodies could be retrieved from the deep gorge. The weather has not been also holding. It’s a herculean task to retrieve the bodies. But based on visual inspection and physical count, it appears that 28-30 people have died. The bodies are one over another,” Meghalaya Special Director General of Police, SK Jain, told Express from Shillong.
He said the rescue operations would continue on Thursday. The police, fire brigade, besides the BSF, are engaged in the rescue operations.
Official sources said visibility was poor at the time of the mishap due to heavy rains. It was learnt that the deceased included six CRPF personnel. Three other jawans were among the nine persons injured. All the jawans were posted in Tripura. The sources said the condition of some of the injured passengers was critical. They were undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
Meghalaya Home Minister Roshan Warjri said two rescuers sustained injuries during the rescue operations. The area is heavily forested and devoid of electricity. Several incidents of mishaps were reported from here in the past. Meanwhile, Assam and Meghalaya Chief Ministers have mourned the deaths.