Seven pilgrims from Karnataka were killed and five injured when a minibus fell into a valley in a tribal area in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, police said. The victims were identified as residents of Chelekeri village in Chitradurga district in Karnataka, who were on a pilgrimage to various shrines in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
After a visit to the famous hill shrine of Lord Rama at Bhadrachalam in neighbouring Telangana, the pilgrims started off for the Satyanarayana Swamy temple at Annavaram in Andhra Pradesh when the tragedy occurred. The mini-bus they were travelling in fell into the valley near Valmiki Konda on the Chintoor ghat road in the Agency (tribal) area, police said. While six of the pilgrims died on the spot, another succumbed on the way to the hospital. The five injured had been rushed to a hospital in nearby Ramapachodavaram. Bodies of the deceased had been removed and sent to the hospital for post-mortem, police added.
Earlier, police, quoting initial information, had said the bus was carrying tourists. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy spoke to the East Godavari district officials over phone and enquired about the accident, a release from his office here said. He directed the district authorities to ensure proper treatment to the injured. Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly N Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the accident and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.