KANGRA: Twenty-seven children were killed when the school bus they were travelling in skidded and fell into a 100-feet-deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district, news agency ANI reported.
The bus belonging to a private school overturned as it slipped into the gorge and came to rest in the middle of the hillside, the rescuers said. The police said the driver could have been speeding on the narrow hill road before he lost control of the bus.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF have reached the accident site at Kangra's Nurpur town, 220 kilometres from state capital Shimla. Some children who had been trapped inside the mangled bus have been rescued.
The students are from Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Memorial Public School. Many of them were in Class 5 and below, news agency IANS reported.
"I have spoken with the chief secretary... the NDRF was immediately deployed," Himachal chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said. "Rescue operation is underway with the help of locals. I have ordered for a magisterial probe," he said.
The chief minister has announced Rs. 5 lakh compensation for the families of the children who met with the accident. All the injured children have been taken to a hospital in Pathankot, 90 km from the accident site.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident."