Dozens Dead After Horrifying Crash

Dozens Dead After Horrifying Crash

( – India has one of the world’s highest death rates from road accidents. The latest figures from the country’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways showed that nearly 158,000 people die per year in traffic accidents. Broken down, that’s 47 accidents and 18 fatalities every hour, or 1130 accidents and 422 deaths per day. Sadly, a devastating crash recently killed at least 39 people in India’s northernmost Kashmir region.

On November 15, international media outlets reported that a bus with dozens of passengers drove off a highway between the Himalayan towns of Jammu and Kishtwar. Officials confirmed that at least 37 people died and 17 sustained injuries when the bus slid downhill about 660 feet onto another road. The death toll later rose to 39.

Harvinder Singh, a civil administrator, told reporters that first responders transported passengers with critical injuries to a nearby hospital. Other victims received treatment at nearby medical facilities.

Officials have yet to determine the cause of the crash. However, Singh said the bus driver was speeding, and the 42-passenger vehicle was overcrowded.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a brief statement on his X/Twitter account and government website, calling the incident “distressing.” He offered his condolences to the victims and their families and said he was praying for a quick recovery for the people injured in the crash.

Additionally, Modi said he authorized the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to provide an ex-gratia of 200,000 Rs (roughly $2,400 US dollars) to the deceased victims’ next of kin. The PMNRF is also providing 50,000 Rs (about $600) to anyone injured in the accident.

Ex gratia” is a Latin legal term meaning “by favor.” In this context, it means that Modi authorized the payments to victims and family members as an act of kindness or grace that doesn’t denote an admission of responsibility. Modi likely clarified the “ex gratia” nature of the one-time payment because the PMNRF is publicly funded and doesn’t rely on government funds. The organization ordinarily only releases funds to victims of natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.

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