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11 dead as vehicle falls into gorge in Ramban

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Authorities direct police to conduct probe

Banihal/Srinagar, Mar 16: Eleven people, including four women and five children, were killed and four others injured when a cab skidded off a road and fell into a deep gorge in Ramban district on Saturday, police said.

The cab, carrying 15 passengers from Chaderkote to Rajgarh, rolled down into the over 500-feet-deep gorge when its driver lost control at Kunda Nallah near Baglihar power house at 10.30 am, an official said.

He said the locals along with the police immediately launched a rescue operation and pulled out bodies and injured from the wreckage.

While six persons were found dead on-the-spot, five others succumbed on way to hospital, the official said, adding that three more critically injured persons, including driver of the vehicle, were taken to Jammu for specialised treatment.

Rajgarh is a far-flung tehsil in Ramban district and is connected with the Srinagar-Jammu national highway through a link road which is reportedly damaged at various places.

The allowed capacity for cabs operating in the hilly roads is only seven passengers and the driver of the vehicle has violated the directive, the official said.

He identified some of the deceased as Romal Din (61), Mohammad Mubeen (23), Rubeena Begum (30), Urmilla Devi (32), Babli Devi (37), 13-year-old Imano Bano, nine-year-old Arjun, two-year-old Pari, and a three-month-old baby.

Another child who was being airlifted to Government Medical College hospital Jammu succumbed at the helipad, the official said, adding the identity of the child and a woman is being ascertained.

Meanwhile District Development Commissioner, Ramban, Showkat Aijaz Bhat directed police authorities to conduct an inquiry into the accident and submit the investigation report to his office, he said.

A spokesperson said Bhat, along with Senior Superintendent of Police Anita Sharma, visited district hospital to inquire about the health condition of the injured.

Advisor to Governor, K K Sharma, expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident and said necessary instructions have been issued to the district administration for providing best possible medical assistance to the injured.

In separate cases, a cyclist was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle in Poonch district, while nine passengers were injured in a collision between two buses along the Jammu-Pathankot highway in Samba district on Saturday.

The cyclist, Prakash (48), a daily-wager in Municipal Committee Poonch, was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Jhalas when he was on way to work Saturday morning, resulting in his on-the-spot death, officials said.

They said a bus and a mini-bus collided near Thandi Khui in Vijaypur along the Jammu-Pathankot highway in Samba district around 9.30 am, resulting in injuries to nine passengers.

Three of the critically injured were rushed to Government Medical College Hospital Jammu for specialised treatment, the officials said.

Meanwhile, National Conference (NC) president Dr Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah expressed condolences to the bereaved families whose kin were killed in a tragic road accident in Ramban.

Both the leaders prayed for peace to departed souls, said a party spokesman.

Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also expressed sympathies with the families whose loved ones were killed in the tragic road accident.

Mirwaiz said that his thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families.

He said it was tragic to see many lives getting lost in road accidents and landslides in Jammu and Kashmir. (With PTI inputs)

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