Five pilgrims killed, dozens injured in Saptari bus accident

RAJBIRAJ: Five pilgrims lost their lives and dozens were injured in a bus accident that took place in Hanumannagar Kankalini Municipality of Saptari district on Friday night.

Locals of Dakneshwori Municipality, from where the pilgrims had set off on their journey, are grieving the loss of lives of their family, friends and neighbours.

The incident occurred when the passenger bus (Ko 1 Kha 2799) lost control and fell into a roadside pond at 9:45 pm at Inarwa in Hanumannagar Kankalini-10. The bus was ferrying pilgrims who were travelling to Baraha Kshetra of Sunsari district. They were returning back after attending a fair.

The deceased have been identified as Bechani Devi Yadav (70), Sikila Devi Sah (60), Bhukhani Devi Yadav (60) of Dakneshwori Municipality-5; Dinesh Rajak (55) and Bauki Devi Rajak (50) of Dakneshwori Municipality-4, according to District Police Office (DPO), Saptari.

A neighbour of deceased Rajak, Sharada Devi Rajak, shared that no-one had taken a morsel of food in the neighbourhood after the tragic news reached them. Only in the morning, they had happily sent the pilgrims on their journey.

Bodies of the deceased have been kept at Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital in Rajbiraj, where treatment of the injured is also taking place.

The seriously injured have been referred to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, said police. Likewise, some of the injured have also been referred to health facilities in Biratnagar.

Police stated that the accident was caused due to loss of control but passengers cite over-crowding and over-speeding as causes of the accident.

Meanwhile, it has been decided to shut down all local levels of the district on Sunday to mourn the lives that were lost.