Pathanamthitta: A bus carrying Sabarimala devotees from Tamil Nadu fell into a gorge near Nilakkal on Tuesday.
The accident happened at 1:15 pm. Police said the accident occurred when devotees returned after darshan at Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.
At least 64 people, including nine children, were on board when the bus veered off the road and fell into the gorge in Elavunkal near Nilackal. The Pathanamthitta District Public Relations Department said the pilgrims are from Mayiladuthurai district in Tamil Nadu.
The locals alleged that the injured could not be shifted immediately to the hospital due to delay in ambulance service.
Later, police and fire force units reached the spot and shifted all injured to the hospital. The bus driver, who suffered critical injuries, was shifted to Kottayam Medical College, and others to Pathanamthitta District hospital.
In a Facebook post, State Health Minister Veena George, who coordinated the rescue operations with various departments said 11 pilgrims have been shifted to Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam.
Police said 48 pilgrims were brought to the General Hospital, Pathanamthitta. Medical experts from Government Medical College Hospital, Konni, reached the General Hospital to provide proper medical care.
Some injured pilgrims were taken to a hospital at Erumely. Those who suffered minor wounds were discharged, officials said.
State Ministers including George, Agriculture Minister P Prasad and Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan visited the injured pilgrims at the hospital here.
MVD officials who visited the crash site indicated that overspeeding might be the reason for the accident.
With PTI inputs