Thirteen people were killed and 39 injured, five of them seriously, when their bus plunged into a gorge in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh early on Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner Chamel Singh said.
While seven people were killed on the spot, six others succumbed to their injuries in the Kullu Zonal Hospital where they had been admitted after the accident, which occurred at Talwara, 40 km from Kullu, at about 0800 hours, Singh said.
The victims have been identified as Man Singh, Dola Singh, Sunita Sood, Dev Raj, Man Bahadur, Dhoba Ram, Om Chand, Subhash, Kanshi Ram, Gokhu Ram, Romesh Chand and Tripurari.
Sunita Sood was a teacher in a Central school, Gokhu Ram was from Baijnath in Kangra district and Tripurari and Man Bahadur were labourers from Bihar and Nepal.
Singh said the bus carrying 55 to 60 people on board, was going uphill on its way to Nuli from Aut in the district when it fell into the 350-foot deep gorge.
People from the neighbouring villages rushed to the accident site and helped district officials in extricating injured people and bodies from the mangled bus, he said.
He said the condition of five passengers injured in the accident was serious adding, that four of them had been referred to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla, while another has been referred to PGI in Chandigarh.
Some of the injured passengers were undergoing treatment at Kullu Zonal Hospital, while a few others with minor injuries were discharged after first aid, Singh said.
Singh said the district administration has announced an immediate relief of Rs 5,000 each to the next of the kin of those killed in the accident and seriously injured.
The other injured in the accident would also be provided adequate compensation, he said.
He said the cause of the accident was not yet known adding, that a case has been registered and investigations were on.
State Governor V S Kokje, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Agriculture Minister Raj Krishan Gaur and other leaders expressed their sympathies with the affected families.
The chief minister directed the district authorities to provide immediate relief and medical aid and make arrangements for sending the bodies to ther families.
Expressing serious concern over the accident, Transport Minister G S Bali directed the Transport Department to launch an intesive drive to check licences of private passenger carriers.
He said the increase in number of accidents of private carriers was a serious matter and asked the authorities to conduct medical check-up of the drivers in a phased manner and send them for refresher courses at authorised driver training schools.
A technical committee of Himachal Road Transport Corporation divisional manager (technical) in Dharamsala and motor vehicle inspector in Mandi, Kullu, had been asked to inquire into the cause of the accident and submit its report in three days, Bali said.
He also announce a Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and adequate compensation to the injured.
With PTI inputs