Injured serious, airlifted to Panchkula; CoI ordered
Prez, VP, PM, LG, Rahul express condolences
JAMMU, May 27: A major tragedy struck Army in Turtuk sector of Ladakh, bordering Pakistan when a vehicle they were travelling in skidded off the road and fell into river Shyok, about 25 kilometres from Thoise, this morning killing seven soldiers and injuring 19 others, most of them seriously.
The vehicle was on way from a transit camp of the Army in Partapur to a forward location in Sub Sector Hanif of Turtuk sector of Ladakh when driver lost control and it went down into Shyok river at 9 am today, official reports received here said.
A total of 26 Army soldiers were travelling in the vehicle and seven of them were killed in the accident while 19 others were seriously injured.
Locals joined by Army, police and civil administration rushed to the spot and launched rescue operation.
Seven bodies have been recovered from the spot.
Nineteen injured were airlifted in helicopter from 403 Field Hospital Partapur to Leh from where they were further shifted to Chandimandir in Haryana’s Panchkula district under the Western Command in special Indian Air Force (IAF) plane.
Sources said most of the injured jawans were in serious condition.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Army chief General Manoj Pande following the tragic incident. General Pande apprised Singh of the situation and the steps taken by the Army to save the lives of the injured soldiers.
The officials said the vehicle the soldiers were travelling in skidded off the road. However, no reasons could be ascertained immediately behind the accident. The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the tragedy.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) Leh Corps Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta visited Partapur hospital to inquire condition of the injured before they were airlifted to Chandimandir.
“Seven individuals have been declared fatal so far. There are grievous injuries to others as well. Dedicated efforts are underway to ensure that the best medical care is provided to the injured,” an official said.
He said the vehicle fell into the Shyok river to a depth of approximately 50 to 60 feet from the road.
“A party of 26 soldiers was moving from the transit camp in Partapur to a forward location in sub-sector Hanif. At around 9 am, 25 km from Thoise, the vehicle skidded off the road and fell in the Shyok river,” the official said.
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind today expressed grief over the death of soldiers in Ladakh and conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased.
“Saddened to know that an unfortunate road accident in Ladakh has claimed the lives of some of our brave soldiers. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Kovind tweeted.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has expressed anguish over the death of seven Army personnel in a road accident in Ladakh and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured.
“Anguished to know about the loss of lives of our brave soldiers in a road accident in Ladakh. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. My prayers for the quick recovery of the injured,” the Vice President Secretariat tweeted, quoting Naidu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” over the bus accident.
“Anguished by the bus accident in Ladakh in which we have lost our brave Army personnel. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover at the earliest. All possible assistance is being given to the affected,” Modi said in a tweet.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has also expressed condolences to bereaved families of the Army personnel killed in the mishap.
“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives of our brave Indian Army personnel due to a bus tragedy in Ladakh. We will never forget their exemplary service to our nation. My condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured,” the Defence Minister wrote on Twitter.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar too condoled the death of the soldiers.
“Deeply saddened by the news of loss of precious lives of our brave Army personnel in Ladakh. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” he tweeted
Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha has expressed pain over loss of lives in Ladakh accident.
“Deeply pained to learn about loss of lives of our brave Army personnel in a tragic bus accident in Ladakh. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families in this hour of grief. Their selfless service to the nation will always be remembered. Prayers for speedy recovery of injured,” Office of LG J&K tweeted.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also expressed sadness over the death of Army soldiers in Ladakh and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.
“Extremely saddened to hear of the tragic accident with Indian Army personnel in Ladakh. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families, and wishes for the speedy recovery of our injured soldiers,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Deeply shocked at the news of the terrible tragedy leading to loss of lives of our brave hearts serving mother India in difficult terrain. Our heartfelt condolences to their family and loved ones.”
AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also said the death of seven soldiers in Turtuk sector is very painful and paid her tribute to them. She also wished a speedy recovery to the injured.