Seven people were crushed to death and 33 were wounded Sunday when a rock slipped off cliff and fell on them as they bathed under the famous Siar Baba waterfall in Reasi district.
Two of the dead were women.
All the injured were taken to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana hospital, Katra, where condition of three of them is stated to be serious.
“Five people died on the spot and two others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. Total 33 people sustained injuries,” District Development Commissioner Reasi, G PrasannaRamaswamy told Kashmir Post.
“The accident happened this afternoon when a lose rock fell on some tourists taking bath under the Siar Baba waterfall.”
The accident once again revealed the extremely inadequate healthcare infrastructure in the difficult terrain.
The injured were taken to the Reasi district hospital, six kilometers away from the site of the accident, by tourists and travelers in their own vehicles as no government ambulance was available in the area.
Witnesses said only two doctors were available at the hospital and the facilities proved very inadequate to deal an emergency of this magnitude in absence of the required paramedical staff.
From Reasi, all the injured were taken to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Hospital, Kakryal, Katra from where three critically injured were referred to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) Jammu for advanced treatment.
“Jammu region is prone to accidents and natural disasters due to its difficult geography, but the government is least bothered to provide quality healthcare particularly in rural belts,” said Vikas Gupta of KanakMandi Jammu, whose brother was among the injured.
Governor NN Vohra expressed grief over the loss of lives at Siar Baba waterfall and conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families.
“On being informed about the accident, Governor directed Dheeraj Gupta, CEO, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, to make immediate arrangements for all the injured persons being taken to the Shrine Board’s Super Speciality Hospital at Kakryal,” a government statement said.
National Conference vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah also expressed deep grief and shock over the deaths in Siar Baba accident.
“My heart goes out to all those who lost their dear ones in the tragic incident,” Abdullah said in a statement conveying his condolences to the bereaved families.
Provincial president of National Conference Devender Singh Rana also expressed grief over the tragedy and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.
DC Reasi, Ramaswamy said men and machinery were pressed into service to clear the area around the waterfall off the debris to ensure no one was left trapped. He said the entry of tourists around the waterfall area would be banned.
Police have identified the deceased as Kamal Kishore Sharma (40) son of Om Parkash of Udheywala, Bohri, Jammu , Sachin Kumar (39) son of Kuldeep Kumar of Main Stop Janipur, Jammu, Lucky (27) son of Pritam of Gangyal, Jammu, Priti Gupta (45) wife of Sanjeev Gupta of Panjtirthi, Jammu, Sunny Gupta (34) son of Arjun Gupta of Krishna Nagar, Jammu, Darshana Devi (22) daughter of Misha Ram of Arnas, Reasi and Sunny Mehra (35) son of Vijay Mehra of Bantallab, Jammu.
Those undergoing treatment at GMC&H have been identified as Nirmal Devi (45) wife of HarbansLal of Reasi, Surinder Kumar (53) son of GirdhariLal Sharma and his son Danish (21), both residents of Jeevan Nagar, Digiana, Jammu.
Reasi police have started an investigation into the accident after registering a case.
Govt Sanctions Rs. 4 Lakh Exgratia
The Government has sanctioned Rs 4 Lakh ex-gratia to the next of the kin of those killed.
An immediate relief of Rs 30000 was also provided to the persons injured in the tragic incident.
Union Minister of State for PMO DrJitendra Singh while closely monitoring the situation has urged the hospital management to provide best possible treatment to the injured and hoped for their speedy recovery.