MUZAFFARABAD, Sept 17 More than 20 people were killed and 38 others injured, some of them critically, when an overloaded bus veered off the road and fell into a gorge near here on Thursday.
Police and witnesses said the bus was moving on the narrow hilly road to Dabban village, some 15 kilometres west of here.
It developed a technical fault and plunged into the ditch some 300 feet down the road.
The dead included the driver and three women.
SP Special Branch Javed Yousaf told Dawn the bus was overloaded with passengers returning home after doing Eid shopping in Muzaffarabad. Many of them had virtually just a toehold and a good number were sitting on the roof.
Local people removed the bodies to their homes and the injured to different hospitals.
“I was sitting on the roof and I don't know how all of a sudden the bus nosedived into the gorge. I was thrown into the air and hit the ground,” an injured man told Dawn.
Some of the dead were identified as Habibullah, Din Mohammad, Munir, Jahandad, Mohammad Alam, Asad (driver), Ali Bahadar, Jahangir, Noor Zaman, Mir Hussain Shah, Suleman, Qazi Shabbir, Qazi Manzoor, Mohammad Alam, Khadeeja, Mukhtar and Ms Moazzam Jan.
Road accidents frequently take place in AJK and are mostly blamed on dilapidated roads and rickety vehicles which are never inspected.
Official sources said the administration had banned the movement of big vehicles on narrow roads, but transporters had lately obtained relaxation by giving an undertaking.
Prime Minister Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan has ordered an inquiry into the accident.
He directed the administration to pay compensation to the victims in 24 hours.