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37 Indians die in Nepal bus mishap

At least 37 Indians were among 40 people killed yesterday when an overcrowded bus carrying pilgrims from India to a temple in Nepal veered off the road and fell into a deep canal, authorities in Delhi and Kathmandu said.

The overloaded bus, reportedly overloaded, plunged into an irrigation canal on the Gandak river, close to Parasi town near the India-Nepal border.


Hope against hope: People watch as a rescue team searches for the bodies of pilgrims after a bus fell into an irrigation canal near the pilgrimage site of Triveni. Pic/AFP

Officials in Kathmandu and New Delhi said the bus was taking the pilgrims — mostly from Uttar Pradesh — to the pilgrimage site of Triveni, 100 km from Kathmandu.

Police said the bus was carrying about 75 passengers and many of them were riding on its roof. Police superintendent Gyan Bikram Shah said that the driver of the bus lost control on the road that was slippery because of rainfall.

Another police officer, Deepak Raya, said the bus was fully submerged in the river water after veering off the road.

A statement from the external affairs ministry in Delhi said most of the Indian victims were from Maharajganj district of UP and had gone to attend the Bolbum festival in Triveni.

Till late yesterday evening, 27 people were rescued alive. And of these, 10 were Indians. Officials feared that the death toll might go up.

India has set up an information centre up at the embassy in Kathmandu and concerned officials can be contacted at
00-977-1-4412125 and 411699 (extension 4109). A special Indian team, including a doctor, has left for the accident site to assist Nepalese authorities in the relief and rescue operations, the statement said. Nepal Army and Armed Police Force personnel are carrying out rescue works. The number of casualties could rise, the official added.

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