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7 killed, over 30 injured as rolling rock hits people at Siar Baba waterfall

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Guv expresses grief; Rs 4 Lakh ex-gratia sanctioned for deceased

Jammu, Jul  15: A huge boulder rolled down a 100-feet high waterfall in Reasi district today, killing seven people and injuring 30 others, police said.

A group of people, mostly youngsters, were bathing under the Siar Baba waterfall, one of the biggest in north India, at Talwara, 10 kilometers from Reasi town, when the loose rock and other debris fell on them, Senior Superintendent of Police, Reasi, Tahir Sajad Bhat was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said seven people were killed and 30 injured in the incident.

A large number of people had gathered at the spot to spend Sunday holiday. Many of them were bathing under the waterfall when the incident occurred around 3.30 pm.

The others present at the scene rushed to rescue those trapped under the debris. They were joined by police with JCB machines, another police officer said, adding the rescue operation was going on when reports last came in.

He said the death toll might rise as the condition of many injured people was “critical”.

Most of the dead and injured belonged to Jammu district, the officer said.

The injured included Ashok Kumar and his five-year-old son from Uttar Pradesh.

Eight boys and girls and seven women were undergoing treatment at local hospitals, the officer said.

Those injured were shifted to the Reasi district hospital in private cars, as the administration alerted the hospital authorities and additional staff, including doctors and paramedics, was rushed to attend to the injured people, he said.

Many people involved in the rescue operation complained that only one doctor was present at the hospital at the time the injured people were admitted for treatment.

Governor N.N. Vohra while expressing grief over the loss of lives in an unfortunate incident at Siar Baba waterfall in Reasi, has conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families.

On being informed about the accident, Governor  directed Dheeraj Gupta, CEO, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, to make immediate arrangements for all the injured persons being taken to the Shrine Board’s Super Speciality Hospital at Kakryal, an official spokesperson said.

He said later Gupta, informed the Governor, who is Chairman of the Shrine Board, that 31 injured persons were receiving treatment at the hospital, of whom three were critical.

Governor asked the CEO to ensure that the cost of the entire treatment provided to the injured was borne by the Shrine Board.

Gupta informed the Governor that 31 people were receiving treatment at the shrine board super speciality hospital at Kakriyal. Of these, the condition of three people was "critical".

National Conference Vice President and former chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed grief and shock over the incident.

“My heart goes out to all those who lost their dear ones in the tragic incident," Omar said in a statement here.

Provincial President of the party, Devender Singh Rana, said he spoke to senior administration officers and sought specialized treatment for all those injured.

Meanwhile the Government has sanctioned Rs 4 Lakh ex-gratia to the next of the kin of those who died due to sudden landslide at Siar Baba Water Fall in Reasi.

An immediate relief of Rs 30000 was also provided to the persons injured in the tragic incident, an official communiqué reaching here said.

Union Minister of State for PMO Dr Jitendra singh while closely monitoring the situation has urged the hospital management to provide best possible treatment to the injured and hoped for their speedy recovery.

Meanwhile Chief Executive Officer Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Dheeraj Gupta ,Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Sanjeev Verma , IG Police, Jammu SD Singh Jamwal are stationed at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital to personally monitor the treatment of the injured.

Personnel of Army's U Force, CRPF 126 Battalion, besides men from NHPC's Salal power project and AFCONS railway company joined the district administration in the rescue operation by providing support including earth moving machinery, evacuation of trapped victims and shifting of the injured to the Hospital.

Huge machinery for earth moving and ambulances were pressed in services to retrieve the victims trapped underneath the debris at the site of the incident.

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