14 killed as jeep plunges into river in Baglung, three critical

Published On: December 4, 2019 08:03 AM NPT By: Sangam Gharti Magar

BAGLUNG, Dec 4: At least fourteen persons died in a road accident at ward 7 of Badigad Rural Municipality along the Mid Hills Highway in Baglung on Tuesday.

The jeep with 18 passengers plunged around 500 meters from the road into the Badigaad River leaving 14 persons dead on the spot and three seriously injured, according to Sub-inspector Rin Bahadur Baidar of Area Police Office, Bhimgithe. One passenger is missing, he said.

All the deceased were members of Karki families from ward 4 of Ishma Rural Municipality of Gulmi district and they were headed for ward 2 of Nishikhola Rural Municipality in Baglung for ‘Kuldevata Puja’ [worship of clan deity].

The Karkis had chartered the jeep on Monday. The jeep (Ga 1 Ja 5219) arrived at Ishma Rural Municipality-4 early in the morning to pick up the devotees. A total of 26 devotees had boarded the 14-seater jeep despite request by the driver and his assistant that it would be dangerous and they might face police action.

At around 9.30 am, police at Khar Bazar stopped the jeep and forced eight persons including the driver’s help to alight. The eight passengers boarded another vehicle and followed the jeep.  

But shortly afterward the jeep met with the accident. The passengers of the vehicle that was following the jeep informed the police station at Bhimgithe about the accident. A police team led by sub-inspector Rin Bahadur Baidar reached the accident site within half-an-hour – at around 10 am.

“Overspeeding might have caused the accident. We found that the jeep had smashed through four safety pillars on the roadside and plunged into the river,” Baidar said.

Of the deceased, 11 passengers including the driver have been identified as residents of Ishma Rural Municipality. They are Suchana Karki, 30; Resham Thapa, 25; Basundhara Karki, 40; Mamata Thapa, 23; Sita Karki, 40; her two-year-old daughter Anusha Karki; Chhabi Karki, 40; Mahendra Karki, 40; Bhumi Karki, 45; Mina Basnet, 25; and 40-year-old Dhana Bahadur Karki.

Likewise, Muma Karki, 60, resident of Bardaghat Municipality-2, Nawawlparasi; Laxmi KC, 55, resident of Badigaad Rural Municipality-5, Baglung; and Dhana Bahadur Karki, 55, resident of Kanchanpur district, are also among the dead, informed DSP Jhapindra Prasad Bhattarai, spokesperson for District Police Office, Baglung.

According to CDO Lok Bahadur Chhetri of the District Administration Office, Baglung, Jeevan Karki, 22, a resident of Bardaghat Municipality-2, Nawalparasi, and Himal Karki and Nima KC, residents of Ishma Rural Municipality, who have received serious injuries, were airlifted to Kathmandu and are being treated at the TU Teaching Hospital.

“The driver had driven on the road for the first time. The accident may have occurred due to over-speeding. The vehicle fell from the road at a bend,” said police inspector Suraj Khadka.

Meanwhile, Karnna Bahadur Chitang, the driver’s assistant who survived as he was travelling in another vehicle, said that the jeep plunged down the road right in front of his eyes. “The jeep was not speeding,” he said, adding that he and the driver had requested the passengers to not overload the jeep.  

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