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17 dead, 16 injured as minibus plunges 300 feet into a gorge in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar

Jammu : At least 17 people died and 16 others were injured, seven of them seriously after a minibus plunged 300 feet into a deep gorge near the Chenab river in the mountainous Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning, police said.

Kishtwar SSP, Rajinder Gupta said seven seriously injured passengers were being airlifted to Jammu government medical college and hospital for specialized treatment.

“A helicopter from Pawan Hans and then another from army will be ferrying the injured to Jammu,” Gupta said.

The 25-seater minibus on its way from Thakrai in Keshwan to Kishtwar, he said. Thakrai is 15 km from Kishtwar town in Jammu region.

The mishap occurred around 8.30 am when the minibus veered off the road and plunged into the gorge, the SSP said.

Local people were the first responders to the early morning accident before the police and the army were rushed to the spot to launch rescue operations.

Jammu and Kashmir’s former Director General of Police S P Vaid who was recently transferred as the state’s Transport Commissioner has expressed his sorrow at the loss of lives.

The dilapidated roads in hilly Doda region coupled with official apathy and reckless drivers in overloaded vehicles have turned this stretch into a death trap for commuters.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, who had a 10-year long tenure in the state, had repeatedly asked successive regimes in the state to improve the roads in the hilly state, especially Doda region.

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