Tragedy strikes Shimla..44 killed as bus falls in river

Shimla: At least 44 passengers were killed when a private bus fell into a river in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla district on Wednesday, police said. Two people, including the bus conductor, managed to escape by jumping off the bus even as it skidded off the road.

The bus, with 46 people on board, was on its way to Tuini from Vikas Nagar town (both in Uttarakhand), via the state, when the bus skidded off the mountain road and fell into Tons river, more than 250 metres below the road.

Deputy Commissioner Rohan Thakur confirmed the toll.

"So far, 17 bodies have been identified. Ten of the victims belonged to Uttarakhand and the remaining were from Himachal Pradesh," Thakur told IANS over phone from the spot.

He said the cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained.

The victims included 11 women and three girls, the official said.

The accident occurred near Rohana in Nerva tehsil, some 190 km from the state capital. It is one of the remotest places in the state, bordering Uttarakhand.

Eyewitnesses said the administration had a tough time in extracting the bodies of the victims from the bus, though villagers began the rescue operation even before the authorities could reach the accident spot.