Police, locals and rescue personnel at the site of the mishap
Police, locals and rescue personnel at the site of the mishap.
An official said the vehicle fell into the gorge as the driver lost control over it following a landslide which brought a heap of debris on the road.

Thirteen people died and two sustained serious injuries when a passenger vehicle fell into a 200-metre-deep gorge after it was hit by a landslide on Gangotri National Highway in Uttarkashi district on Monday.

All the 13 died on the spot while the two survivors, who sustained serious injuries, were rushed to a nearby hospital where they are undergoing treatment, officials said.

State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) officials said the accident happened around 2 pm when the 22-seater vehicle carrying 15 passengers bound for Uttarkashi from Gangotri when it was hit by boulders rolling down the hills due to a landslide near Sanglai area. Due to the impact of the hit, the vehicle fell into a 200mt gorge, officials said.

"Thirteen of the passengers including 10 men and three women died on the spot. Their bodies were recovered from the spot by the rescue team comprising SDRF team members and local police," said Praveen Alok, SDRF official at Dehradun command centre.

Two 13-year-old girls, identified as Meenakshi and Radhika, survived with serious injuries as they fell off the vehicle before it went down the gorge, he said, adding that they were rushed to nearby hospitals and are undergoing treatment.

Both the girls are residents of Bhakoli village in Bhatwadi. The officials are yet to release official information about the deceased persons.

A combing operation is on to check if there is any more casualty or survivor, Alok said.

People in know said the villagers, mainly of Uttarkashi district, were returning with a traditional Naag Doli (Snake Palanquin) when the accident occurred.

District magistrate of Uttarkashi, Ashish Chuahan rushed to the spot. However, he couldn't be contacted due to network problems in the area.

On August 28, a bus fell into a gorge in Tehri Garhwal claiming two lives while 34 other passengers were injured.

On August 25, a vehicle carrying 12 passengers fell into gorge killing two people.

On July 2, 48 passengers were killed when a bus fell into a gorge in Pauri district.