Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The bodies of three of the four persons from Karnataka who died when a bus plunged into the Bhagirathi at Uttarakashi in Dehra Dun district have been recovered and identified. They are Manoj Prabhu, Mahesh Shetty and Uma Kamath, all from Mangalore.

The fourth body is to be traced. They were returning to their base in Dehra Dun after visiting Gomukh when their bus careened off the road, plunging 150 feet down into the river, which was in spate.

Ten people died and 16 were injured in the accident.

Speaking to The Hindu from Kotwali police station in Dehra Dun district, one of the survivors, Damodar Prabhu, said: “We had come on a pilgrimage to various places in Uttar Pradesh and in the final leg, 50 of us split into two groups of 25 each. One had gone to Gomukh and the other to Tapovan. The Gomukh group was returning to Dehra Dun after lunch when the tyre burst and the bus lost control. It swerved and some of us were thrown out. The bus overturned and plunged into the swollen river.”

Mr. Prabhu became emotional and said he had lost his brother Mahesh and agonised over the fact that he would not be able to take the body to his native Mangalore.

Mr. Prabhu said it was not possible to bring back the bodies as the journey would take not less than four days. Airlifting them was ruled out because of the prohibitive costs. He said the Dehra Dun police had given all help to the survivors and had made arrangements for cremation at Hardwar. Mr. Prabhu runs an auto consultancy at V.V. Puram in Bangalore.

Mourned

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has condoled the death of the pilgrims.

He has also rushed NRI Fund convener and BJP MLC Ganesh Karnik to Uttarakashi to oversee the arrangements.

A release from the Chief Minister’s office said that Mr. Karnik would assist the family members of the victims to bring the bodies back to the State.

It said that the Resident Commissioner of Karnataka in New Delhi had also been instructed to coordinate the efforts. The government press release issued here on Thursday put the number of dead from Karnataka at seven.

The number of the Kotwali police station in Dehra Dun is 0135- 2712685.

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