India bus crash kills almost 40 as passengers plunged 600 feet down gorge in country’s mountainous north


New Delhi — At least 36 people were killed and 19 injured Wednesday when a passenger bus fell into a gorge in northern India’s mountainous Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir state. The accident happened on a hilly road on the Batote-Kishtwar national highway, about 123 miles southeast of the region’s main city of Srinagar. 

The bus, carrying 55 people, was on the way to southern Jammu city from Kishtwar town when it skidded off the road and plunged more than 600 feet into a gorge.

An aerial image from video provided by police in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state shows, at lower left, a bus that crashed off a road (at right) and then 600 feet down a gorge, leaving at least 36 people dead on Nov. 15, 2023.


“Unfortunately, 36 persons have died and 19 are injured, out of whom six injured are serious,” Indian federal minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said. 

Authorities were preparing to airlift the injured victims to a hospital in Jammu city.

Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced their grief over the deadly road accident.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the unfortunate death of several passengers in a bus accident in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. I express my condolences to the bereaved family members and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured,” President Murmu said in a post on the social media platform X.

“The bus accident in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir is distressing,” Modi said, offering his “condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest.” 

Modi’s government also announced that the families of those killed in the crash would receive compensation of 200,000 Indian rupees (about $2,400) and those of injured victims would get 50,000 rupees (about $600). 

Road accidents are common in India’s mountainous Himalayan region. A similar bus crash in the neighboring district of Kishtwar in 2019 left 33 people dead. That same year, 44 people died when a bus lost control on a hilly road in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and tumbled down a hill. 

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