Two dead, two missing as tipper plunges into Karnali River in KalikotFollowing an altercation with the passengers, the driver exited the vehicle which had its engine running, causing the accident, police said.
Two people died and two are still missing after a tipper plunged into the Karnali River in Kalikot on Wednesday. The vehicle was taking 39 recent returnees from India to a quarantine facility in Raskot Municipality.
According to the District Police Office, the deceased and the missing are from Raskot Ward No. 2, and one of the missing is a two-year-old child.
Likewise, two critically injured passengers of the vehicle have been airlifted to Surkhet on an army chopper while five others who sustained minor injuries are receiving treatment at Kalikot District Hospital.
District Police Chief DSP Shyam Babu Oliya informed that the vehicle was taking 13 women and 26 men who had come to Nepal from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand of India to a quarantine facility in Lalighat. They were accompanied by the driver of the vehicle and two police personnel.
"The driver had an altercation with the passengers who were complaining of a lack of space in the vehicle," said Oliya, "The driver, in a fit of rage, exited the vehicle while the engine was running."
According to Oliya, the vehicle plunged some 30 metres down the Karnali Corridor road into the Karnali River.
Police informed that the tipper driver Ranganath Dhamala of Raskot Ward No. 8, who was on the run following the incident, has been arrested in Sannigad.
Man Bahadur Bam, one of the passengers in the vehicle, said that the two police personnel and the driver in the overcrowded vehicle did not pay heed to the passengers’ complaints, leading to the confrontation.
Another passenger Saraswati Bam said that the driver continued to drive on even after the passengers pleaded with the driver and the police personnel to let them exit the vehicle.
“We said we would rather walk to the quarantine facility since the vehicle was so crowded and our children were feeling suffocated,” she said. "The driver applied the brakes but had kept the engine running when some passengers exited the vehicle and assaulted him. The driver got off the vehicle and that’s when the vehicle started rolling towards the edge."
Dhanrup Kumal, whose wife is missing in the accident, said, "It’s always the poor like us who have to suffer. We haven't eaten properly for four days and whatever little saving we had brought with us has all been swept away in the river. And now my wife is missing."