In a tragic incident, 38 people were killed and 10 injured when a night bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge near Sonapur Mandir, East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya on Tuesday. The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) bus was on way to Guwahati from Silchar.
According to police, 95 per cent of the passengers are feared dead even as rescue operations are ongoing in the area with the army, medical officers and locals working in tandem to find out any survivors. Police said that the personnel involved in rescue operations are finding it difficult to carry out their operations effectively as the bus fell into a 500 feet deep gorge and the area is devoid of electricity and is heavily forested.
Lethindra Sangma, the district’s additional superintendent of police, said a rescue team evacuated five people from the gorge on Wednesday morning. They are in a critical condition.
The bus had rolled down around 9:45pm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, expressed deep pain over the loss of lives in the bus mishap in Meghalaya and said his prayers are with the families of the deceased. “Deeply pained by the loss of lives caused by a bus mishap in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills District,” Modi tweeted.
Deeply pained by the loss of lives caused by a bus mishap in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills District: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 15, 2016
The spot, landslide and accident-prone, is near Meghalaya’s border with southern Assam’s Barak Valley. District officials said it was difficult to get updates from the rescue team because of poor network affecting mobile phone connectivity. The depth of the gorge and rain has increased the difficulty level, they said.