5 pilgrims die, 30 injured in Mustang bus accident

- BINOD TRIPATHI, MUSTANG

Apr 23, 2017-Five pilgrims died and 30 others were injured in a bus accident near Kagbeni at Bahragaun Muktikshetra Village Council-4 in Mustang district on Saturday.

The vehicle (Na 5 Kha 6067) had overturned on its way back to Jomsom, the district headquarters, from Mukti-nath Temple. According to the district police office, five persons died on the spot. The site is 12km north of Jomsom.

The pilgrims from Kathmandu Valley had reserved the bus to reach Muktinath, a revered temple for Hindus and Buddhists. It is still unclear how many people were on board as some had got on the bus from Beni, Myagdi. Police identified the deceased as Bhola Adhikari of Kathmandu-35, Purusho-ttam Dhakal of Kathmandu-32 and Kanti Khadka of Kageshwori-3 in Kathmandu, Sita Timilsina of Changunarayan-8 in Bhaktapur and Lila Khadka of Mahalaxi-2 in Lalitpur.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Harihar Nath Yogi said 15 critically injured pilgrims were airlifted to Pokhara on a Nepal Army helicopter. The other injured are undergoing treatment at the district hospital in Jomsom.

Security personnel, government employees and the locals reached the site immediately to rescue the victims. The injured were brought to Jomsom along with their belongings on an Army truck.

Police suspected the poor shape of the road to have caused the tragedy. Jomsom-Muktinath is a single lane dirt road. Survivors claimed that the incident happened due to the negligence of the driver.

The bus was losing balance apparently due to a mechanical problem, said Narayan Puri, a passenger. “We asked the driver to stop the vehicle but he paid no heed. Then the vehicle suddenly tumbled.”

The bodies have been kept at the district hospital for autopsy, said Chief District Officer Bhimraj Pokharel.

Manipal ‘denies treatment’

Critically injured 15 passengers were flown to the Manipal Medical College in Pokhara for treatment but the hospital refused to admit them citing the protest of doctors. They were later taken to other hospitals on ambulances. Fifty-two Nepali doctors have been protesting at Manipal demanding additional pay and perks. Dipak Koirala, one of the protesting doctors, however, said the hospital could provide care as 11 Indian doctors were on duty when the injured were brought there.

Published: 23-04-2017 07:43

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