Staff Correspondent

SHIMLA: At least 19 passengers were killed and 17 injured when a private mini bus fell into a gorge near Ghanahatti, 30 km from here, on Friday. The bus was coming from Dhami to Shimla in the morning and the passengers mainly were office-goers. Nine of them died on the spot. A magisterial enquiry has been ordered by the State Government into the accident.

The Governor, V.S. Kokje, and the Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, have expressed grief over the accident. A compensation of Rs.1lakh has been announced for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 25,000 for the seriously injured. The injured have been admitted to the Indira Gandhi State Hospital.

The bus was overcrowded with passengers. According to eyewitnesses, many people were crushed under the bus.