At least 21 Char Dham pilgrims are feared dead while seven others have been injured after a bus carrying devotees from Indore in Madhya Pradesh plunged into a gorge near Dharasu in Uttarkashi on Tuesday. The bus returning from Gangotri was on its way to Chinyalisaur when it fell into a 250m deep gorge.
Ram Singh Meena, additional director general of police (ADG) law and order said, “The bus was carrying 28 pilgrims, all of whom were from Indore. Seven of the pilgrims have been rescued and have sustained injuries. But the remaining 21 are feared dead. Darkness in the night is hampering rescue operations as rescue teams have spotted the bus but members are unable to climb down the hillside.”
A senior government official said that keeping in mind the high level of water in Bhagirathi river, release of water from Joshiyada barrage has been stopped. Teams of state disaster response force (SDRF) Jal Police, ITBP, police along with the district magistrate and SP Uttarkashi have reached the spot. The injured have been admitted to Chinyalisaur hospital.
The ADG said that 57 pilgrims from Indore had arrived in the state for Char Dham yatra in two buses. “One of the buses met with an accident. According to preliminary reports, a tyre of the vehicle separated from the rim due to which the driver lost control over the bus and it fell into the gorge,” said Meena.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured. Rawat has also directed a magisterial probe into the incident.