» 07/16/2012 NEPAL Nepal, bus packed with Shiva pilgrims plunges into canal: 39 dead, 12 missing by Kalpit Parajuli The incident occurred in Nawalparasi district, 150 km west of Kathmandu. The vehicle carrying a group of Indian pilgrims for Triveni Maharajgunj, the feast in honor of the god Shiva. The bus went off the road because of heavy monsoon rains and overcrowding.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A bus
carrying about 120 Hindu pilgrims crashed into
a canal in Nawalparasi district (Western Nepal) 150 km west of Kathmandu. The
partial toll is 39 dead and 12 missing.
The incident occurred yesterday. Of the 39 victims, 37
were Indians. To facilitate relief operations, the authorities have drained the canal, which had risen due to heavy
The 120 pilgrims, most from the Indian state
of Uttar Pradesh, were headed to Trivenidham to participate in the Triveni Maharajgunj, a traditional festival in honor of Shiva.
According to initial reports, the
accident was caused by uneven and slippery roads worsened by strong monsoon rains. When approaching a curve, the driver,
perhaps drunk, lost control of the vehicle, causing it to crash into the canal. Most victims
died from drowning.
Gyan Bikkram Shah,
head of Nawalparasi police, points out
that the bus was overcrowded. Some passengers were traveling
on the roof of the vehicle. In Nepal,
public transport is often overcrowded
and road accidents on mountain roads are very common. Last October, a bus carrying
more than 100 people lost control
crashing into a river in eastern Nepal. About
40 people were killed on impact.