GULMI/UDAYAPUR : At least 19 people were killed and scores others sustained injuries in two separate road accidents in Gulmi and Udayapur districts on Monday. The accident in Gulmi killed 10 people while nine died in the Udayapur accident.
The first accident took place in Gulmi Durbar rural Municipality-4 in Gulmi in the morning. An ill-fated microbus (Ba 4 Kha 5501) veered off the road and plunged some 400 meters into a river. The microbus was heading for Tamghas, headquarters of Gulmi district, from Butwal.
Police and locals were able to carry out prompt rescue work as the incident site is near a village. Six others have sustained injuries. They have been taken to Shringa Health Post of Palpa after preliminary treatment, according to Superintendent of Police (SP) Anurag Kumar Dwivedi.
The driver Bhim Bahadur Gharti of Resunga Municipality-10 also died in the accident. Along with him, Balkumari Thapa, 40, of Musikot Municipality-2; Rumi Nepali, 45, of Isma Rural Municipality-2; Dil Bahadur Kumal, 25, of Isma-6; and Yamuna Marasaini, 30, of Isma-1 also perished.
The other deceased have been identified as Sumitra Darmali, 32, of Ruru-6; Lal Bahadur Mukhiya, 28, of Malika Rural Municipality-6; Ram Prasad Pandey, 42, of Chhatradev Rural Municipality-7, Arghakhanchi; and Kesh Bahadur Gurung of Butwal, according to the District Police Office (DPO), Gulmi.
Likewise, in the accident in Udayapur district on the same day, nine people including the driver of the Tata Sumo jeep, were killed while two others were injured.
The jeep (Na 1 Ja 3404) was en route to Jayaramghat from Katari Bazaar met with an accident at Thanti Bhanjyang in Katari Municipality-11 along the Siddhicharan Highway.
The accident took place after the jeep went out of control and fell some 500 meters from the road at 2 pm, according to eyewitness Shatrughna Karki, who is also the chief of Himali Transport Entrepreneurs Association, Katari. The jeep was completely wrecked in the accident.
A police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mahendra Shrestha, the chief of Area Police Office (APO), Katari, had carried out rescue work with the help of locals. Police said the cause of the accident remains unknown.
A four-year-old child got stuck in the tree during the accident and luckily survived. The child and a woman were referred to Dharan hospital after undergoing preliminary treatment in Katari Hospital.
The jeep driver Hari Kari, 28, was also rescued but died in the course of treatment at Katari Hospital. He breathed his last at around 4 pm, according to the Area Police Office.
Besides Karki, the identities of the other deceased had yet to be ascertained till Monday evening.
"Had the driver survived, we could have known how the accident happened," said DSP Shrestha. "But the driver died in the course of treatment, and another survivor is not in a condition to speak," he added. Shrestha, however, said the narrow road could be responsible for the accident.