Landslide near Kalikhola sweeps cops' van, truck into Trishuli River

CHITWAN: A landslide near Kalikhola along the Narayangadh-Muglin road section has swept away a van carrying four police personnel and a truck into the Trishuli River in the wee hours of Friday.

The incident occurred while the team of police personnel deployed from the Muglin-based Area Police Office were returning after inspecting landslide at Charkilo triggered by the incessant rainfall at around 9:40 pm yesterday, according to Superintendent of Police Deepak Thapa at the District Police Office, Chitwan. He said the police van (Na 1 Jha 1390) and the truck (Na 5 Kha 7827) plying the road were suddenly hit by another landslide near Kalikhola at 1:05 am.

The team included  Assistant Sub Inspector of Police Nischal Tamang (29), of Khaniya Rural Municipality-4; Van driver, a Police Constable Deepak Kumar Maskey (30) of Haraiya-6 in Bara district; Sandeep Karki (21) of Rupakot-3 in Tanahun district and  Lil Bahadur Chepang (31) of Makaisingh-1 in Gorkha district.

Bodies of Tamang and Maskey have been recovered from the boulders deposited below the road on a high ground above the river, while the search is on for two other constables Karki and Chepang.

It has been learnt that Tamang and Maskey were on front seat aboard the van, SP Thapa said.

Police have also rescued the truck driver's assistant Sijal Lama and sent him to a health institution in Aanbu Khaireni for treatment. The truck driver Ram Kumar Lama has been found unharmed.

Police have assumed that both the vehicles might have plunged into the river together with the landslide debris.

Meanwhile, the front part of the truck is visible.

The effort is on to clear the boulders from the road, said police.

The road witness huge vehicular movement at night since road expansion is being carried out in day time only, Narayangadh-Muglin Road Project Engineer Shiva Khanal said. He said that it would take at least 6 to 7 hours to clear the landslide debris that occurred at Charkilo and near Kalikhola.

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers along with the vehicles to and from Chitwan, Pokhara and Kathmandu are stranded in and around the landslide prone area.

The incident site is at the distance of 2.5 kilometres from Muglin towards Narayangadh.