50 feared dead in Rajouri bus capsize
20 killed in State floods: Govt; Several structures, bridges swept away in Pir Panchal districts
At least 50 persons are feared dead after flashfloods swept away a bus in this border district in Jammu division on Thursday. The bus was carrying a marriage party when it was swept away on the Lam-Darhal road in Nowshehra Tehsil, officials said.
Sources said the bus was drifted away by strong flashfloods near Raipur Pata village when it was crossing a small bridge over a local rivulet named Gambhir Nallah. “The bus (JKO2AK-9075) carrying about 60 persons, including children and women of a marriage party, was on its way from Rajpura Kamlia village to Lam Nowshera,” they said.
The driver of the vehicle, officials said, drove the bus through the flooded bridge “but it was washed away with the sudden increase in the force of water flow.”
Official sources said some seven to 10 persons swam to safety while 50 others, including the bridegroom, are still missing and feared dead.
While the rescue operation is on, officials said the continuous rain was hampering it. The operation is jointly launched by the Police, SDRF and Army. “The ill-fated bus is also yet to be located as the water level in the stream is rising with every passing hour,” an official said.
The official at Deputy Commissioner’s Office here said rescue teams have been sent to the spot. “The exact number of deaths is yet to be ascertained, but reports suggest that over 50 persons were travelling in the bus when it met with the mishap,” he said. “The bodies are being located.”
FLOODS WREAK HAVOC
Officials said about 70 houses are reported be have suffered total damage while 136 are partially damaged at various places in the district. He said reports of death to livestock due to flashfloods were also received. “Initial reports suggest that standing and laid crops have suffered 30 percent damage,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports from Poonch district said several hundred houses were damaged, mainly in Surankote Tehsil.
“About 100 families are trapped in Potha and Bela villages of Surankote amid flashfloods. Rescue teams of the SDRF, Police and Army made several attempts to reach to the spot to evacuate the trapped persons but have failed to do so due to continuous rains and increasing water levels,” they said.
Sources said two women identified as Zahida Begum and Nasira Begum died in Mandi Tehsil when their house collapsed. They said the body of an army soldier, Baldev Singh, who was missing since yesterday, was found in Sabza Sector of Mandi Poonch.
“Three girls were also injured in Mohalla Thanda of village Lassanain Surankote when their house kitchen collapsed. The injured have been identified as Tarveez Akhter daughter of Arshad Ahmed; Shahina Akhter and Tasleema, daughters of Muhammad Sadiq,” reports added.
Reports also said eight towers of 133-KVA line collapsed in Surankote due to which the entire Poonch district has plunged in darkness. He said the snapping of power supply has also affected water and communication network.
20 KILLED IN JK FLOODS: GOVT
The toll in the incessant rains and flash floods in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday rose to 20, even as 50 others were feared dead after a bus carrying them was washed away in Rajouri district.
“So far 20 deaths have been reported in the state due to heavy rains and floods,” Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather told reporters at a joint press conference with Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand in Srinagar.
Giving the breakup of the figures, Rather said two deaths each have been reported from Anantnag, Baramulla and Budgam districts in Kashmir Valley and seven from Poonch, six from Reasi and one from Doda in Jammu region.