DHADING/KATHMANDU, APR 23 – At least 17 people were killed and 28 others injured when a double-decker bus carrying Indian pilgrims fell some 150 metres into a gorge at Naubise inDhading along the Prithvi Highway on Wednesday morning.
Altogether 45 passengers, including 22 women, were travelling in the bus that crashed along the Sisnetar-Jhyaple Khola road stretch. A rescue team comprising Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police personnel recovered 14 dead bodies from the crash site. The injured were rushed to different hospitals in Kathmandu. Three more died while undergoing treatment.
The ill-fated bus (GJ14X9900) belonging to Shri Hari Travels had left Pashupatinath Temple in the Capital for Gorakhpur in India at 5am along with another double-decker bus (GJ14X9888) belonging to Omika Travels. “The bus swerved off the cliff while trying to steer clear of a motorcycle at a bend at around 6:40am,” said Jagdish Babu, driver of the Omika Travels bus. Babu confirmed that his bus was safe.
All of the pilgrims were from the Indian state of Gujarat. The bus had entered Nepal on March 22, carrying pilgrims to different holy places in the country.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has begun shifting all 28 accident survivors to Thapathali-based Norvic Hospital from other hospitals in the Capital, including TU Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Jaya Bahadur Chand, chief of Metropolitan Police Traffic Division, said the driver is undergoing treatment at Norvic. “Until we take his statement, we cannot say anything on the cause of
the accident,” said Chand, who had reached the accident site.
Dhiru Bhai Adhobhai, a crash survivor, said they had arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday morning and were leaving for Gorakhpur. “The bus was speeding when I heard a bang,” the native of Surendranagar told the Post at TU Teaching Hospital, before being shifted to Norvic. “The next moment the bus fell off the cliff.” He and his wife were lucky to escape with only minor injuries.
Indian Embassy officials said 10 of the injured are in critical condition, adding that all the crash survivors and bodies would be flown back to India on a special plane on Thursday.
Deceased in crash
Ganesh Shiva; Jasu Ben (w/o Ganesh Shanker); Ganesh Shanker; Ishwar Shyamji; Kanchan Ben (w/o Narottam Shiva); Labu Ben (w/o Pragji Bhagwan); Dalpat Bhai; Savita Ben (w/o Devji Bhai); Devji Bhai; Gauri Ben (w/o Daya Ram); Daya Ram; Ganga Ram; Leela Ben (w/o Narsi Poppat Bhai); Narsi Poppat Bhai; Alpesh Kodi Patel, Khallashi (helper); Champa Ben (cook); Jasu Ben (cook)