14 killed, 12 injured as tempo traveller carrying tourists falls into Alaknanda River in Uttarakhand

PTI, Jun 16, 2024, 9:05 AM IST

RUDRAPRAYAG: Fourteen tourists were killed and 12 injured when a tempo traveller skidded off the road and fell into Alaknanda River on the Badrinath National Highway here in Uttarakhand on Saturday, officials said.

The tourists were on the way to Chopta when the accident happened at around 11.30 am near Raitoli village. The vehicle carrying 26 people rolled down a 200-metre gorge and into the river, they said.

Ten people died on the spot while four others succumbed later in hospitals, according to the district administration.

Two persons were declared dead at Rudraprayag district hospital while two were declared brought dead at AIIMS, Rishikesh. Three of the dead are yet to be identified, according to hospital authorities.

The driver of the tempo traveller, Karan Singh, is also among the dead. Victims of the accident were residents of Noida, Mathura, Jhansi of Uttar Pradesh, Haldwani of Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana.

Rescue and relief personnel had to navigate extremely adverse terrain to reach the badly mangled vehicle.

Senior officers, including District Magistrate Saurabh Gaharwar, and Superintendent of Police Vishakha Ashok Bhadane monitored the rescue and relief operations being carried out by the police and Uttarakhand State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

A woman was flung from the vehicle due to the accident but was later rescued from the bushes around 80 metres off the road, the SDRF said.

Garhwal Inspector General of Police K S Nagnyal said the vehicle was carrying the tourists to Chopta.

On Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami’s instructions, seven persons seriously injured in the accident were taken to AIIMS, Rishikesh through a heli-ambulance, while six others were admitted to the Rudraprayag district hospital, he said.

A health bulletin issued by AIIMS-Rishikesh said that out of the seven injured brought to the hospital, two had died before reaching the facility. Trauma surgeon of AIIMS, Rishikesh, Dr Ruby Kataria said a team of doctors from the trauma department is engaged in the treatment of five other injured.

The injured have suffered deep injuries in many parts of their bodies and almost all of them are in critical condition, the doctor said.

The chief minister has directed the district magistrate to investigate the incident, officials said.

Dhami later reached AIIMS, Rishikesh and enquired about the condition of the injured and urged doctors to provide necessary treatment to them.

The families of the injured have been contacted and they were assured of all possible help from the state government, the CM said. Officials have also been directed to ensure effective control of such accidents in the state, he said.

The chief minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased. The state government will provide Rs 40,000 to the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 to others injured in the accident.

The injured will also get Rs 50,000 from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

According to information shared by the Uttar Pradesh Relief Department, among those killed in the accident, four are from the state. They were identified as Smriti Pathak and Mohini Pandey of Pratapgarh, Smriti Sharma of Sonbhadra, and Akansha of Jhansi.

Two with critical injuries, Aditya and Chavi, who were among those airlifted and five of the injured admitted to a hospital in Rudraprayag are also from Uttar Pradesh, it said.

President Droupadi Murmu, PM Modi, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other leaders expressed grief over the loss of life.

Terming the accident heartbreaking, the Prime Minister’s Office posted on X, “My deepest condolences to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones in this. Along with this, I wish all the injured a speedy recovery.”

President Murmu condoled the loss of lives in the accident and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “The local administration and SDRF teams are engaged in relief and rescue work and all possible help is being provided to the injured.”

In a post on X, Vice President Dhankhar said he was pained to hear about the loss of lives in the accident.

Adityanath expressed deep sorrow over the accident and extended his condolences to the bereaved families, an official statement said.

He instructed the Chief Minister’s Office and the Relief Commissioner’s Office to immediately coordinate with the local administration in Uttarakhand to ensure proper treatment for the injured and necessary safety measures.

Following his instructions, a team of senior officials from Saharanpur has been dispatched to Rudraprayag, it said.

According to Uttarakhand government data, 1,674 accidents were reported in the state in 2022, in which 1,042 people died and 1,613 were injured. The country reported 4,61,312 road accidents with 1,68,491 deaths and 4,43,366 injuries the same year.

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