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16 Amarnath pilgrims killed in accident

 RAMBAN/JAMMU, July 16 - Sixteen Amarnath pilgrims were killed and around 27 injured, 19 of them critically, when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled down into a deep nullah in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir today, officials said.

The deceased belonged to UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Two women were among the sixteen who died, they added.

The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) bus was part of a convoy carrying 3,603 pilgrims from Jammu to the twin base-camps of Baltal and Pahalgam en route to the cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas, police officials said.

Nineteen injured pilgrims are being airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment, while eight have been admitted to the district hospital in Banihal, they said.

Police, Army and CRPF, with help from locals, launched rescue operations and brought out the bodies and the injured persons from the nullah, they said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives of in the accident. “Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to a bus accident in J&K. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted. – PTI

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