37 people killed in Indian Kashmir bus crash

At least 37 people were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday when a passenger bus skidded off a mountainous road and plunged into a deep gorge, police said.

Security personnel and rescue workers gather beside the wrecked bus, in Doda, Kashmir on November 15, 2023.
37 people killed in Indian Kashmir bus crash

The accident took place on a remote road in the Doda area, about 200 kilometres southeast of the region’s capital Srinagar.

Local government official Harvinder Singh told AFP that 37 people had been killed.

Police said they feared the death toll could rise, with at least 18 people injured in the crash taken to hospital, officials said.

The accident was “caused by the driver’s negligence by hitting the crash bar of the road,” police officer Sunil Gupta said.

“The bus tumbled down the mountain some 800 feet,” he said.

A video clip from the site showed a grisly scene of several dead bodies, as rescuers tried to help the injured.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the accident was “distressing” and offered his “condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones.”

“I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” he said on social media, adding that government compensation of more than $2,400 would be offered to the next of kin of those killed and $600 to those injured.

Home Minister Amit Shah said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he was “deeply anguished to learn about the loss of precious lives.”

“The local administration is conducting the rescue operation in the gorge where the bus had the accident.”

Accidents are common on India’s vast network of roads, which are often poorly maintained.

The country accounts for 11% of the global road death toll, despite having just one percent of the world’s vehicles, according to a World Bank report released in 2021.

The same report estimated 150,000 car crash fatalities in India annually — or one every four minutes — causing road crashes that cost the Indian economy around $75 billion each year, the report added.

Medical expenses and loss of income push many accident survivors into poverty.

In May, at least 21 people died when a bus veered off a bridge in India, reportedly after the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

In July, 25 people were killed and eight others injured in western India when a bus crashed and caught fire on an expressway.

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