18 dead in Jumla bus accident

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KALIKOT, MAR 17 – Eighteen people died and 11 others were injured, three of them critically, in a bus accident at Raralihi-1 on the Karnali Highway in Jumla district on Monday.

The Nagma-bound bus (Na 4 Kha 4970) swerved off the road and fell some 100 metres on the Tila riverbank. Thirteen people died on the spot, two on the way to hospital while three succumbed to injuries during treatment, said police. Both driver and his assistant were killed in the crash.

Three critically injured passengers were airlifted to Kohalpur Medical College in Banke while the others are undergoing treatment at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Jumla.

The Karnali Yatayat bus met with the accident in Gadegudeni at around 9pm, about half an hour after it left for Sinja from Jumla Buspark. There were 31 people on board when the incident occurred.

Chief District Officer of Jumla Dipendra Raj Poudel said the steering failure might have been the reason behind the crash. “The road is wide and there is no sharp bend at the incident site. There could be some technical reasons behind the accident,” he added.

The road was muddy after the overnight rain in the area. Deputy Superintendent of Police Balaram Rai said that the accident remained unclear as the driver and his assistant died in the incident.

Three children and six women were among the dead. Fourteen of them were from Jumla and four were the residents of Kalikot district.

The pitiable condition of roads in most remote districts in Karnali region has often been blamed for accidents, with the Karnali Highway even being termed the ‘death way’ due to the large number of accidents. There have been 159 road accidents on the highway between Surkhet and Jumla), claiming 209 lives since it came into operation in 2007.

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