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14 dead as vehicle falls into gorge in U'khand

14 dead as vehicle falls into gorge in Ukhand
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Dehradun: Fourteen people returning from a wedding, including five women and two children, died and two were injured when a vehicle fell into a deep gorge on the Sukhidhang-Dandaminar Road in Uttarakhand's Champawat district, police said on Tuesday.

Their bodies were recovered from the gorge after a nearly 11-hour-long rescue operation, Champawat Superintendent of Police (SP) Devendra Pincha told a national news agency from the spot.

Five women, a four-year-old girl and a teenage boy are among the dead, he said. The deceased also include a mother-daughter duo, the SP said.

All of them died on the spot as the gorge was deep and the car was badly damaged in the accident on Monday night, he said.

The two injured are being treated at hospitals in Tanakpur and Champawat, the SP said.

The authorities were informed about the accident around 3 am on Tuesday, after which rescue teams were rushed to the spot, an official at the Champawat district disaster management office said.

The vehicle was returning from a wedding in Tanakpur to Danda Kaknai village when the accident occurred, he said.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Prakash Ram of Pati village, and Trilok Ram of Kaknai village were injured in the accident, reports suggested. They managed to climb up the road and informed villagers about the accident. The villagers then alerted the police and rescue teams were rushed to the spot for search and rescue operations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the loss of lives in the accident and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami condoled the deaths in the accident.

Five more lives were lost in separate accidents in Pauri and Tehri districts on Tuesday, the police said.

Three teachers were killed near Kotdwar when the vehicle in which they were travelling fell into a gorge, while two people died when their car fell into a gorge near Gooler in Tehri district.

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