Doda,Srinagar, Jammu: At least 39 passengers were killed and 17 others were injured after a bus ferrying them plunged down a steep slope near Trungal in the Assar area of Doda district on Wednesday.
An official said that a the bus bearing number JK02CN6555, which could be seen in CCTV footage crossing a checkpoint minutes before the accident veered off the road and fell down 300 meters on another road near Trungal-Assar on the Batote- Kishtwar national highway.
He said that soon after the incident, rescue teams involving State Disaster Response Force, police, army and locals rushed to the scene to initiate rescue operation. “The ill-fated bus was travelling from Kishtwar to Jammu and was carrying 56 passengers at the time of accident,” he said.
He said 37 people were brought dead to Government Medical College (GMC) Doda while two died at GMC Jammu after being airlifted while 17 people who were injured are being treated in the hospitals.
Deputy Commissioner Doda Harvinder Singh said that out of the 56 passengers on board, 37 have lost their lives, and 19 are injured. “Among the injured people, four have been airlifted to GMC Jammu for special treatment. A thorough examination of the vehicle, including insurance and service life, has been conducted and everything found alright,” he said.
The DC Doda said: that “The driver of the vehicle also died. There is a possibility that the vehicle might not have been operated appropriately. An inquiry has been initiated into the case.”
Medical Superintendent. Medical College Hospital, Jammu, Dr. Narinder Bhatial said four people have been brought to the facility after they were airlifted. “A minor girl, who is currently stable, is being transferred to the ICU for further care, with her operation scheduled for tomorrow. Two injured people did not survive the incident. Another person is in critical condition and our efforts are focused on trying to save him,” he said.
Officials said that the accident in Doda seems to be one of the deadliest in the recent years. It may be recalled that a significant portion of the road fatalities in J&K were attributed to accidents on national highways, particularly in hilly Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban areas of Jammu region. According to a recently released report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), an alarming total of 4,287 lives were tragically lost due to road accidents from 2018 to 2022 in J&K.
The report reveals 984 lives were consumed by road accidents in 2018 while the figure was 996 in 2019. In Covid-19-hit years of 2020 and 2021, the numbers came down with 728 and 774 deaths respectively before, rising to 805 deaths in 2022.