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Road mishap near Sonapur, several feared dead

Guwahati-bound bus falls into 500-ft deep gorge

JOWAI/SHILLONG: A night bus coming from Silchar to Guwahati skidded off the road fell into a deep gorge near  Sonapur  Mandir, East Jaintia Hills on Tuesday at around 9. 45 pm with police sources indicating that majority of the passengers of the ill-fated bus are feared dead.
According to police, 95 per cent of the passengers are feared dead even as police, personnel of the 108 ambulance ,BSF and the locals had rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operations of the injured.
Police said that since the bus fell around 500-feet down, the personnel involved in rescue operations are finding it difficult to carry out their operation effectively and since the area is steep, police could rescue only one person initially.
“The area where the bus fell is dark and our men are using ropes to climb down. Our efforts are on to carry four to  five persons who we believe are the survivors of the bus accident”, East Jaintia Hills district police chief Spill Thamar said over  phone on Tuesday night.
He also said that the police are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the accident.
Thamar said it is difficult to find out the exact number of persons who were killed in the accident as the rescuers were still searching for accident victims at the site.
“We fear that due to the impact of the accident, the passengers may have scattered around the accident spot and an update will be available only on Wednesday morning”, he said.
The main cause for the delay is that there is no electricity in the area and the rescuers have to risk themselves to reach the accident spot, he said.
The additional district magistrate and VDP personnel from the nearby village had also rushed to the spot.
According to the SP, though areas from Lumshnong to Ratacherra is accident prone, this is for the first time that a night bus is falling to the gorge from Sonapur Mandir.
Earlier on January 26 this year, 11 passengers were killed and over a score injured when a night bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Tongseng village under Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills.

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