At least 17 persons including 6 women died and 33 injured when a passenger bus they were travelling in skidded off the road and fell into 400 feet deep gorge on Srinagar Jammu Highway, officials said on Tuesday.
Official sources said that the accident took place at Digdool area of Ramban, district.
They added that the accident took place at around midnight.
The relief and rescue operation was on when the reports last came in and the bodies were being evacuated from the accident site.
The bus according to official sources was travelling from Jammu to Srinagar when the driver of it lost control over it and fell into a deep gorge.
The ill fated bus was reportedly carrying passengers including one tourist family, young male students and a labourer group from outside states who were on their way to Kashmir valley.
Six women are among the passengers who died on the spot. Besides, a group of young students from Rajouri, Poonch and Akhnoor areas of Jammu who were on their way to participate in Army recruitment process in Kashmir, are among the dead.
Official sources said that the sudden nap moment of the driver is stated to be the main cause of the accident.
In recent months several lives have been lost in mishaps that took place in wee hours or around midnight during travelling on Srinagar Jammu highway. In past years, several mishaps have taken place on the same spot and it is after about two years that a mishap of this magnitude takes place on the Highway.
Officials said the Quick Response Teams including the local police, volunteers of District Red Cross Society, soldiers of Territorial Army, CRPF and the locals are busy in the rescue operation and recovering the dead bodies from the gorge and the injured are being shifted to District Hospital Ramban till the last reports came in.
Helicopter service is also being pressed into service to evacuate the critically injured to Jammu.