New Delhi: At least 17 people were killed and 16 others injured in a road accident in Jammu and Kashmir, news agency ANI reported on Friday. The accident took place in Kishtwar district. Police said that a mini-bus went out of the driver’s control and plunged into the Chenab River in the Thakrie area.

The minibus was on its way to Kishtwar from the Keshwan area when the fatal accident happened. The vehicle plunged into the over-300-foot gorge, near the Chenab riverbed. “So far, 13 persons are confirmed dead and 13 others injured,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Kishtwar Rajinder Gupta, who is leading the rescue operation, told PTI.

The bus was carrying over 30 passengers, he said, adding that the rescue operation was launched immediately after the accident.

Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said the district administration was making efforts to airlift eight critically-injured passengers to Jammu.

“The next of the kin of the deceased will be given an ex gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each, while Rs 50,000 will be given to each of the injured persons,” Rana said.

Last month, 13 people were killed after a van carrying pilgrims to the Mata Machail temple skidded off the road and fell into the Chenab river in Kishtwar. The deceased included 11 pilgrims and the driver and conductor of the van.

(With agency inputs)