Shimla: Thirteen people, including three couples, died and three were injured when a speeding Tempo Trax veered off the road and rolled down a gorge in Jubbal in Shimla district on Saturday. The accident occurred near Sanail on the treacherous Sawra-Tiyuni road.
The ill-fated Trax, bearing a Himachal Pradesh registration number, was carrying 16 passengers - much beyond its capacity. It was on its way from Saraswatit Nagar (Sawra) to Tiuni, which is in Uttrakhand.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the cab was speeding and the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a curve.
The accident was so severe that 10 persons died on the spot, while three others, including a baby girl and the cab driver, breathed their last at the civil hospital in Rohru. The condition of the injured is said to be critical.
The deceased have been identified as Matvar Singh (48), his wife Basanti Devi (44), their son Munish (24), Prem Singh (38), his wife Poonam (30), their daughter Ridhima (6), Attar Singh (44), his wife Munna Devi (40), Bittu (42), Bandi Devi (48), Ner Singh (35), Manoj (35) and Anil (28).
Himchal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed his grief over the incident and has announced ex-gratia relief for the kin of the deceased.
The 35-odd kilometer Sawra-Tiuni stretch has witnessed many such fatal accidents in the past and a vast majority of them have been attributed to speeding on the dangerously narrow road that has many steep and blind curves.
Moreover, overloading, especially by private cab owners goes unchecked on the road. Being a border area, lack of public transport and adequate policing has meant the people fall prey to private cabs, thus endangering their lives.