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Thirty people feared dead as bus plunges into river in Himachal Pradesh

NEW DELHI: Nearly 30 people are feared dead after a private tourist bus from Punjab, which was on its way to Manikaran, skidded off the road and plunged into a river near Bhuntar in Kullu district this afternoon.

Only 18 persons could be rescued and five bodies were fished out from the river Parvati so far. A massive search operation was underway to trace other missing persons.

The ill-fated 52-seater bus, bearing registration no PB 19,3085, belonged to Guru Kripa Transport, a Barnala (Punjab) based company. The bus started from Punjab today morning and the accident took place around 4 pm.

Deputy Commissioner Kullu Rakesh Kanwar, who along with a team of civil and police officers reached the spot immediately after the tragedy, said that the driver lost control of the vehicle before it plunged into the river.

Conductor Raj Kumar, who is among the survivors admitted at Kullu regional hospital, informed the police that the bus was filled to capacity and all the persons were on pilgrimage to Manikaran as part of a package tour.

“All medical and rescue teams are at the spot. We have formed teams from the home guards and police to trace the missing persons. The locals have also joined the search operation. Some trained rescue personals have also been deployed,” Rakesh Kanwar said.

(With inputs from agencies)