World News

Bus falls into gorge in Raigad: 28 bodies recovered, rest presumed dead

Bus falls into gorge in Raigad: 28 bodies recovered, rest presumed dead

Thirty-three of the 34 people in a bus were killed after it fell into a 500-feet deep gorge near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra's Raigad district on Saturday.

The people onboard the bus were, reportedly, employees of an agricultural university in Maharashtra.

The bus had staff members of the Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth Agriculture University (Dapoli), who were on their way for a picnic to Mahabaleshwar when the accident took place.

Originally, 40 people were supposed to join the trip to Mahabaleshwar, the famous hill station town in Western Maharashtra, but some of them opted out at the last moment because the bus was small and there was no space, he said. He had managed to climb up 400 feet in the gorge and made calls to colleagues and police to inform about the accident. "I climbed my way up somehow", he said, recounting the tragedy. "But according to information received from the survivor, the driver's attention got diverted when a joke was cracked in the bus... and he lost control of the vehicle". A dozen ambulances and 15 doctors have also reached the spot, an official said.

The tragedy occurred sometime after 9 a.m.at the Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur when the bus slid off the mountainous road and fell into the gorge.

He said 33 passengers died in the accident, which took place at around 12.30pm. "Five rescue teams are presently engaged in the operation", said Raigad District Collector Vijay Suryawanshi, adding that an NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team had been dispatched from Pune.

The state government announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of those who were killed, ANI reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the accident on Twitter.

"Pained by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Maharashtra's Raigad district". "Administration taking all efforts to provide required assistance", Fadnavis said in a tweet. "I appeal to Congress party workers in the area to provide all possible assistance to the injured & families of those who have died". "My condolences to those who lost their loved ones".

Gandhi tweeted, "I'm sorry to hear about the awful bus accident in Raigad, Maharashtra, in which a large number of people have been killed".


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