07/16/2012, 00.00
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 rains.

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.

 

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