Truck Crash Leaves 72 Religious Pilgrims Dead in India

A truck carrying religious pilgrims to a temple crashed into a gorge in northwestern India on Friday night, killing at least 72 people and injuring at least 70 more, a news report said.

The accident occurred when the truck driver lost control while taking a sharp turn near the city of Jaisalmer in rural Rajasthan state, the Press Trust of India news agency said, quoting police superintendent Rupinder Singh.

It smashed through a protective wall on the highway and hurtled 80 feet into the gorge, Singh said.

He said 70 people have been hospitalized with injuries.

The pilgrims were going to the Ramdev temple, revered by both Hindus and Muslims, also near Jaisalmer, for an annual pilgrimage.

Rescuers have recovered 72 bodies, using cranes and searchlights, the news agency said.

The New Delhi Television news channel said 150 people were traveling in the truck. Overcrowded vehicles — both buses and trucks — are a major danger in India, and road accidents caused by reckless driving, aging vehicles and bad roads are common.

Jaisalmer is more than 400 miles southwest of New Delhi.