"My heart goes out to the families of Amarnath Yatris who lost their loved ones in the bus accident. My prayers are with the injured," he said.
Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor N.N. Vohra regarding the unfortunate accident that also left 29 pilgrims injured, and was apprised about the ongoing rescue operations, a Home Ministry statement said.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corp bus carrying 45 pilgrims was on its way from Jammu to the Kashmir Valley when the driver reportedly lost control over the vehicle at Nichnala near Banihal town on the Jammu-Srinagar highway and roll down a mountain on Sunday, the statement said.
"As confirmed by SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) Ramban, 16 pilgrims died and 29 got injured. Eighteen injured have been airlifted to Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu by chopper and the remaining 11 with minor injuries left for Srinagar by road," the statement said.
The Home Ministry issued two helpline numbers-- 0191-2560401 and 0191-2542000-- to enquire about Amarnath Yatris travelling in the bus.