26 critically injured as night bus plunges into 250-ft gorge
From Our Correspondent
KHLIEHRIAT: A major road mishap in East Jaintia Hills claimed 30 lives including two women while 26 others including two minor girls sustained injuries in the wee hours of Wednesday.
The night bus of Sherowali Travels (AS01Y-7379) proceeding to Agartala from Guwahati plunged 250 feet into a gorge at Tongseng village near Sunapur in East Jaintia Hills killing 28 passengers on the spot including two women. 26 others, including two minor girls were critically injured. A two-year-old infant and a 6-year-old child survived with minor injuries. However, both the children lost their parents. Two other passengers succumbed to their injuries at the Khliehriat Community Health Centre (CHC).
According to Lumshnong Police, the incident occurred between 3:30 am and 4:00 am. It is suspected that the driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle on reaching a sharp turn due to over speeding.
All the injured were first rushed to Khliehriat CHC and later eight of them were shifted to a hospital in Silchar. Three of them were referred to the Jowai Civil Hospital while some were shifted to Guwahati.
Lumshnong Police and Khliehriat Police along with hundreds of BSF personnel of the 98th Battalion rushed to the spot and pulled out the dead bodies and rescued the survivors.
Police and BSF personnel along with some local residents of Tongseng village were able to pull out the bodies only at around 2 pm. The bodies were brought to Khliehriat CHC where the post-mortem examination was conducted by doctors of the Health Centre and from West Jaintia Hills. The autopsy was completed at around 6:30 pm.
East Jaintia Hills Deputy Commission Abhishek Bhagotia, Agartala Deputy Commissioner and East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police along with other police officers of the district were present during the post mortem examination.
Among the deceased was a BSF personnel identified as Niladri Acharya of the 7th Battalion, a CRPF Head Constable Jagdish Sarkar, a Sepoy identified as Narendra Rai of the Artillery Regiment and a personnel of the Special Security Branch (SSB).
Speaking to media persons, the East Jaintia Hills DC said, “We can identify the remaining bodies only when the relatives come to claim the bodies.”
He also informed that all the bodies have been kept as per medical procedures.
“This mishap is one of the biggest in the history of Jaintia Hills and also the State”, said a senior Police officer, adding, “No such incident has occurred in the past anywhere in the state when 30 people died in a single mishap.”
On December 18, 2009, a similar mishap occurred in almost the same area killing eight passengers and injuring as many as 20 others when a night bus bound to Agartala from Guwahati plunged 500 feet deep into the Lukha river.