7 killed after minibus falls into river in J-K

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Doda (J-K), Apr 12 (PTI) Seven passengers, including four women, were killed and three others critically injured after a minibus skidded off a mountainous road and fell into a river in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, police said.

The incident took place on the Thathri-Gandoh road near Piyakul village, 42 km from Doda town, they said.

Superintendent of Police (SP), Bhaderwah, Raj Singh Gouria said the minibus was on its way to Chilli village from Doda when the driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a blind curve. As a result, the minibus plunged into the deep gorge.

The bus landed on the Kalnai river bed and its roof was blown away by the impact, another police official said.

Gouria said rescuers, including police, Army and locals, immediately swung into action and shifted 10 critically injured persons to the hospital, where four of them were declared brought dead and another succumbed to injuries during admission.

Two more critically injured persons died during treatment at Doda district hospital and Government Medical College (GMC) hospital in Jammu, he added.

The deceased have been identified as Yasir Hussain (26), Shukar Din (60), Kali Begum (50), Anju Devi (28), Sudesha Devi (40), Kalu Begum (40) and Prem Chand (60), the SP said.

Three of the injured are undergoing treatment at GMC, Jammu, he said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) joined the operation to airlift the injured.

'A message was received late afternoon regarding a bus that had toppled into the valley near Doda. An IAF helicopter of 130 HU captained by Wing Commander Mukul Khare was immediately pressed into service to rescue the critically injured passengers,' a defence spokesperson said.

He said the helicopter swiftly reached the Doda playground from where four injured passengers and seven attendants were embarked.

The helicopter got airborne for Jammu. The injured passengers were quickly disembarked into an ambulance and were handed over to the authorities for further treatment, the spokesperson said.

He said the IAF responded swiftly and rescued the individuals so that they could get medical attention as soon as possible. PTI CORR TAS AB DIV DIV