Nine people, including three women, died on the spot and 32 others sustained injuries when a mini-truck in which they were travelling skid off the Poiguda ghat road and tumbled down a depth of over 32 ft on Tuesday.

The death toll is likely to rise as many of the seriously injured have been shifted to MKCG Hospital, Berhampur.

Unofficial sources put the death toll at 10.

The accident spot is under Bamunigam police station limits in Kandhamal district. According to the police, the ill-fated vehicle was travelling to Katingia village carrying 45 people from Hatimunda and Tajungia villages to attend a religious function.

The accident occurred when the driver of the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve on the ghat. Local people, fire brigade personnel, and police reached the spot to shift the injured to Bamunigam health centre.

Twelve other seriously injured were shifted to MKCG Medical College Hospital Berhampur with the help of the local administration where the condition of seven people was stated to be critical.

A section of nearby villagers staged an impromptu protest demanding enhancement of compensation for the bereaved families. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the deaths and declared an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the bereaved family.

The treatment of the injured will be free of cost, he said.

Transport Minister Nrusingha Sahu said the Road Transport Officer has been directed to conduct an inquiry in the mishap. He remarked it was unfortunate that people continue to ignore safety measures and travel in goods carriers like mini-trucks.