15 killed and 17 injured as passenger bus veers off a road in SindhupalchokOverspeeding and rash driving led to the accident, suspect police.
Fifteen people were killed and 17 others injured after a passenger bus (Ba 4 Kha 4468) veered off the road and fell some 100 metres along the Araniko Highway at Chha Kilo in Sindhupalchok on Sunday.
The accident occurred at around 9 am when the bus, en route to Bhaktapur from Kalinchok in Dolakha district, could not make a turn at a narrow bend, eyewitnesses said.
According to Bahrabise Area Police Office, 12 people died on the spot, two on the way to Sindhu Sadabahar Hospital in Sindhupalchok and one person died during the course of treatment in Kathmandu Medical College.
Thirteen dead passengers had been identified as of late Sunday afternoon.
“The injured passengers were sent to Kavre-based Dhulikhel Hospital and Khadichaur-based Sindhu Sadabahar Hospital,” said Police Inspector Nawaraj Neupane of the Area Police Office in Bahrabise.
Dr Raj Kumar Dangal of Sindhu Sadabahar Hospital said passengers who were in critical conditions were referred to Kavre-based Dhulikhel Hospital and HAMS Hospital in Kathmandu.
The bus had left from Bhaktapur to Kalinchok on Saturday and made an overnight stop at Mude in Lisankhupakhar Rural Municipality on its way back.
The bus had left Mude on Sunday morning when it crashed barely five kilometres into the journey at Chha Kilo on the Lamosanghu-Jiri road section in Sunkoshi Rural Municipality Ward No. 7.
"We had stayed overnight at Lisankhupakhar because we didn’t want to risk travelling at night,” said Deepak Tamang, one of the survivors who is receiving treatment at Sindhu Sadabahar Hospital.
Police suspect that overspeeding and rash driving along the under-construction road might have led to the accident.
The bus driver is on the run following the accident.
"The driver was constantly complaining about the steering wheel as soon as we began our journey on Sunday morning," said Dhaankaji Tamang, another survivor. "After travelling for about 5km, we reached a steep turn and the driver applied the brakes. Soon, the bus started emitting smoke. The driver then jumped out of the window and ran away. The driverless bus veered off course and fell down the road,” said Dhaankaji, who was thrown out of the rolling bus. He was rescued and taken to Sindhu Sadabahar Hospital for treatment.
Shankar Tamang, who is also recovering at the same hospital, lost his wife and their two daughters in the accident.
“The accident felt like a dream. I’m still in shock,” he said.
This is the second major road accident in the district in a span of one month. In November, 17 people were killed when a passenger bus plunged into the Sunkoshi river.