Twenty-six persons died while four others were injured after a bus carrying pilgrims fell into a deep gorge in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district on Sunday, ANI reported.
Uttarkashi District Disaster Management Officer Devendra Patwal said the accident took place near Rikhavu khadd area on the way to the Yamunotri temple. Besides the driver and the helper, there were 28 pilgrims on the bus, according to PTI.
All the pilgrims were from the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, went to Dehradun after the accident and told reporters that preparations were underway to send the bodies to Khajuraho.
“We have asked for IAF [Indian Air Force] aircraft to carry the bodies,” Chauhan told ANI. “The aircraft will arrive in Dehradun by 2 pm [on Monday]. The bodies will be sent to Khajuraho...Our teams will be ready there and will take the bodies to four different villages.”
Chauhan said that he and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will visit the site of the accident on Monday.
On Sunday, Dhami had said that officials have been directed to investigate the cause of the accident.
“May God grant the departed souls a place at his feet and strength to their family members to bear the pain,” Dhami had said in a tweet. “I pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured.”
President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.
“I feel pained by the sad news of the death of people in a bus accident in Uttarakhand,” he said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was pained by the news of the bus accident. He announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those who died and Rs 50,000 for the injured persons.
“I express my condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” the prime minister’s office tweeted. “Under the supervision of the state government, the local administration is engaged in all possible assistance on the spot.”