In a tragic incident, at least 35 persons including 15 women were killed and 16 others injured when an overloaded matador they were travelling in skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Thakrie area of Keshwan in Kishtwar district Monday morning.
According to sources, the 25-seater mini bus bearing registration number JK17-6787, had 51 passengers on board.
When the vehicle, which was on its way from Keshwan to Kishtwar, reached Thakrie area of Keshwan, the driver lost control on the steering while negotiating a sharp curve. The vehicle resultantly skidded off the road and rolled about 250 feet down into a nullah at Sirgwari (Thakrie) near KuryalPul, about 23 KM from Kishtwar town.
After receiving information about the accident, Police, SDRF, volunteers of Ababeel and members of Red Cross Society along with locals rushed to the spot and started rescue operation. Later the Army personnel also joined.
All the passengers were shifted to District Hospital Kishtwar, where doctors declared 22 as brought dead while 13 more succumbed to their injuries at the hospital, taking toll to 35 when the last reports came in.
An official said that 51 passengers were on board when the accident took place. 16 critically injured were airlifted to GMC Jammu for further treatment.
When contacted, DDC KishtwarAngrez Singh Rana who was on the spot supervising the rescue operation, said the road stretch where the fatal accident took place “is completely okay.”
“According to preliminary investigation, it seems there was either negligence on the part of the driver or there was some mechanical fault,” Rana said while admitting that the mini bus was overcrowded.
“We have already airlifted 3 seriously injured to the GMC Jammu in Pavan Hans chopper. Now we are waiting for the army helicopter to shift 13 other injured to the GMC,” the officer added.
Later those 13 were also airlifted to GMC Jammu, sources said.
The deceased have been identified as Haq Nawaz Butt S/O GhMohd Butt, Ab Hamid Rather S/O WaliMohd Rather, Sajan Sharma S/O Rakesh Kumar, Junaid Sheikh S/O Javid Sheikh, AqibHussain S/O Akther Butt, Ashwani Kumar S/O Lt. JiaLal, Gulabi Begum W/O Khair Din, AsiyaTabassum D/O Mohd Usman, Bashir Ahmad S/O GhHussain, Tariq Hussain Rather S/O GhMohd Rather, Amjad Mir S/O AbLatif, GhMohd Butt S/O Ahamdu Butt, Baguma Begum W/O Usman Khanday, Tahira Begum W/O Arshad Ahmed, Noor Din Chouhan S/O Jawad Ahmed, Tajja Begum W/O Ghulam Hassan Mir, ShaziaBano D/O AktherHussain, BalKishan S/O DevAnand, Binota Devi W/O DevAnand, Sajja Begum W/O AhamdooWani, NahidaBano D/O Bashir Ahmed, AktherHussain S/O Abdul Samad, Ruksana Begum W/O AktherHussain, Waseem Raja S/O AbSamad, Biri Begum W/O Jamal Ahmed, Zaitoona Begum D/O Shafi Ahmed, Bashir Ahmed S/O MohdShafi, Bashir Ahmed, S/O Qasim Din and Nawaza Begum W/O Javid Ahmed Sheikh all from Keshwan. Masoom Ali S/O MohdShafi R/O BreswanaPremnagar, Hajra Begum W/O Bashir Ahmed R/O Doda, Parmila Devi W/O Nek Ram R/O Kishtwar, Deepak Kumar S/O Naib Chand R/O ThakrieKishtwar, Rakesh Kumar S/O Dina Nath (Driver).
The injured passengers who have been airlifted to Govt Medical College Hospital Jammu are: Mohd Abdullah Wani S/O AbSubhan, Deepa D/O Jodh Ram, MohdIlyas S/O Subhan Butt, KulsamaBanoo D/O Mohd Ashraf Mir, AbRehman S/O Ahmdo Butt, Irshad S/O Sadaroo, Lekh Raj S/O BidyaLal, Rayees Ahmed, S/O GhMohi-ud-Din, ParveenaBanoo D/O AbGaffar, Tariq Hussain S/O GhMohd, Hameed Rather S/O MohdWali, AzraBanoo D/O GhMohd, HaseenaBanoo D/O GhMohd, Muneema Begum W/O ZakirHussain, Adeeba (3 years) daughter of Akhter Hussain all are from Keshwan.
Meanwhile, the people are up arms against the authorities, especially the traffic police, for “not keeping a check on the unruly transporters and drivers on the deadly roads of the Chenab region”. Notably, last year on 14 September, 17 persons including three women had died in a deadly accident that occurred on the same road stretch near DharbadanThakraie road at Tahgatan area in Kishtwar.
On the call of Traders’ Union Kishtwar, all schools and business establishments in Kishtwar remained closed as a mark of condolence. They also expressed resentment against the overloading in the vehicles being “overlooked” by the authorities.
Ex MLC Naresh Gupta, Ex MLAs Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, Sunil Sharma, Youth Leader Randeep Bhandari expressed their condolence over the loss of precious lives.
Thakur Randeep Bhandari General Secretary DCC Kishtwar lashed out at the traffic management and also the PWD for the poor condition of road in the area.
He prayed for peace to departed soul and wished early recovery of the injured.