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16 Amarnath pilgrims dead as bus falls into gorge near Banihal


Jammu, July 16

At least 16 Amarnath pilgrims were killed and more than 25 were injured when a J&K State Road Transport Corporation bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and rolled down a deep gorge near Banihal in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, officials said.

The bus carrying the pilgrims skidded off the road and rolled down the gorge in the Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal said.
Sixteen persons were killed and 27 were injured, many of them critical, in the accident, a police spokesman said.
Nineteen injured pilgrims are being airlifted for treatment while eight have suffered minor injuries, he said, adding that a rescue operation is under way.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives of in the accident.
“Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to a bus accident in J&K. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted.
“I pray that those injured in the bus accident in J&K recover soon,” the prime minister added.
The deceased belonged to UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Two women were among the sixteen who died, they added.
The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) bus was part of a convoy carrying 3,603 pilgrims from Jammu to the twin base-camps of Baltal and Pahalgam enroute the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, police officials said.