PARASI: Rescuers retrieved 39 bodies till Sunday late afternoon from the Gandak canal in Triveni of Nawalparasi where a bus ferrying Bol Bam pilgrims fell into, police said. About 27 people who were on board the bus were out of contact till late afternoon.
Three of the victims identified so far are Nepalis while others are Indian pilgrims. The victims include 28 men, 10 women and a five-year-old girl.
Earlier it was reported that 40 bodies were found in the canal.
District Police Chief of Nawalparasi SP Gyan Bahadur Shah said that 37 victims have been identified till today evening.
Bodies were collected from a stretch of 1500 metres down the accident site in Triveni. Photo: Shreeram Sigdel/THT Online
With 120 passengers on board, the ill-fated bus (Lu1Kha 2356) had left Jholanipur, Guthisuryapura VDC at 12:30 pm and met with the accident at Triveni after an hour.
Five injured out of 10 are receiving treatment at the Prithvi Chandra Hospital in the district headquarters and five others have been adimitted at the Sahid Smrirti Samudayik Hospital in Chaupata. They are said to be out of danger.
Cause still unclear
According to eyewitnesses, the bus first got stuck in the muddy roadside while letting a truck and a tractor coming from the opposite direction to pass by and abruptly plunged into the canal while gearing up to get over the swampy area.
Police, however, said the bus met with the accident as it was overloaded and the driver lost control while letting the vehicles coming from the opposite direction pass by.
The survivors, on the other hand, claimed that the driver was drunk.
The Indian pilgrims heading to Triveni Maharajgunj to take part in the Monday festival in Trivenidham and to collect pure water and take it to the Indian side and offer it to Lord Shiva in Itaiya Temple.
The dead bodies were collected from a stretch of 1500 metres from the accident site.
Fearing that many were missing in the swollen canal, the rescuers from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force carried out the search operation till evening.
The Indian side blocked the water in the canal as the volume of water affected the rescue operation, police informed.