At least 16 people died and over 26 others were left injured after their bus on the way to Amarnath met with an accident on Jammu -Srinagar highway on Sunday.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corp bus was on its way from Jammu to the Kashmir Valley when the driver reportedly lost control over the vehicle at Nichnala near Banihal town on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

“Sixteen pilgrims were killed on the spot while 26 others have been injured,” a police officer said. The deceased comprised 14 men and two women.

The seriously injured pilgrims were flown by Army helicopters to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu.

Notably, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed heavy rainfall and landslides in the last couple of days.

Expressing his grief, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Extremely pained by loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to bus accident in J&K. My thoughts with families of the deceased.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti regarding the unfortunate accident of the bus carrying Amarnath Yatris near Ramban.

He said: “Mehboobaji has apprised me of the ongoing rescue operations. The injured Amarnath Yatris are being airlifted for treatment in Jammu.”

The incident comes on the footnote of the Anantnag terror attack where seven Yatra pilgrims including six women, one man were killed and 19 others were left injured after militants attacked an unescorted bus from Gujarat at Khanabal, Anantnag district on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Monday evening.

Notably, the bus in which the victims were travelling, was neither part of the escorted Yatra convoy nor registered with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The attack was carried out by terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and masterminded by Pakistani militant Ismail.

The 40-day long Amarnath yatra started on June 29 and will end on August 7. So far, over 1.40 lakh pilgrims have reached the cave shrine located at 3,888 metres above sea-level.

WATCH: Rescue operation by army underway after bus carrying Amarnath yatris fell into gorge near Banihal

Here are the helpline numbers to inquire about the Amarnath Yatris 

0191-2560401 & 0191-2542000

(With IANS inputs)

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