17 killed, 50 injured in Sindhupalchowk bus accident

Published On: November 4, 2019 06:54 AM NPT By: Dhurba Dangal

SINDHUPALCHOWK, Nov 4: At least 17 people were killed and 50 others sustained injuries when a passenger bus en route to Kathmandu from Maga-Deurali of Dolkha plunged into the Sunkoshi River in Sindhupalchowk district on Sunday.

The ill-fated bus (Ba 2 Kha 7245) skidded off the Araniko Highway and plunged 20 meters down into the Sunkoshi River at Sukute of Chautara Sangachowkgadi Municipality-9 in Sindhupalchowk, according to District Police Office (DPO), Sindhupalchowk.

Fourteen passengers died on the spot, police further said. One passenger died while being rushed to the hospital, while two others died while undergoing treatment in hospital. A three-month-old infant was also among the deceased.

According to the police, only the dead bodies of 10 passengers have been identified as of late Sunday evening. 

The victims who have been identified are Ratna Kumari Raut, a resident of Sailungeshwar Rural Municipality of Dolkha, her son Kiran Raut, 28; Sishan Shrestha, a three-month-old infant of the same rural municipality, Salina Tamang, 6, a resident of Sailungeshwar-4.

Likewise, Ritesh Khadka, a resident of Sailungeshwar-5; Ranjita KC Basnet and Chet Kumari Basnet, residents of Bhimeshwar Municipality-9, Chameli Shrestha – a resident of Tripura Sundari – and her six-year-old daughter Saya Rani Shrestha also died in the accident. Dead bodies of seven passengers are yet to be identified.

Chet Kumari died while receiving treatment at Dhulikhel Hospital, while Salina breathed her last at Scheer Memorial Hospital of Banepa. A total of 50 injured passengers are receiving treatment at Dhulikhel Hospital, according to DSP Madhav Prasad Kafle, spokesperson for DPO Sindhupalchowk.

SP Prajwal Maharjan, chief of DPO, Sindhupalchowk, said that the bus plunged down into the river due to over speeding. “It has been learnt that the driver lost control due to over speeding in the narrow highway,” he added.

According to Lok Bahadur Thapa, an injured passenger undergoing treatment at Dhulikhel Hospital, the bus plunged into the river due to over-speeding. “I saved my life by jumping out of a window of the bus. All seats in the bus were occupied, and 20-25 passengers were standing in the bus,” he told Republica over the phone.

Likewise, driver Dhana Bahadur Tamang, a resident of Sailungeshwar-4, also saved his life by jumping out of the window. Injured Tamang rushed to the nearest police station to inform about the accident.

According to police, the dead bodies will be handed over to the family members after post-mortem. On September 10, 2010 also, a bus had plunged into the Sunkoshi River from Araniko Highway, leaving 26 passengers dead.

Bus accident victim’s account

Bimala Tamang, 31
I was in the bus with my little son and daughter. We had just returned from my maternal home after Tihar celebrations. At Mude, I noticed that the bus was slightly out of condition. Yet, the driver somehow drove it ahead; he was driving very slowly. At Khadichuar, he stopped for snacks. After this break, he began driving the bus with the music playing. The speed was moderate. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music including the driver. Suddenly I felt as if the bus had overturned and it rolled and again overturned for two more times. Later I realized that my body was soaked in water. I looked for my children. My daughter was still hanging from the bus; I got hold of her and looked around for my son. He was also already rescued; somebody had pulled him out to the riverbank.
I have received injuries on my head and back. Children have hurt their legs. There was Rs 12,000 in my purse. My children’s birth certificates, my marriage certificate and citizenship certificate - I lost everything. I have no idea how many died in the accident, and how many got injured. Both of my children survived it, I am very thankful to God. It was a horrible accident.
(As told to Madhusudan Guragain of Republica from Dhulikhel Hospital bed)

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