Friday, December 18, 2009

Eight killed as bus falls into Meghalaya river near Sonapur in Jaintia Hills district

SILCHAR/SHILLONG, Dec 18: At least eight people were killed and 34 injured after an Agartala-bound night bus from Guwahati fell into the Loobah river near Sonapur in Jaintia Hills district, Meghalaya in the early hours of this morning.

Seven bodies, including that of the driver, have been fished out of the river. Another passenger was declared dead on arrival at Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).  The death toll could go up with a number of passengers still missing.

Tragedy struck passengers of the bus at about 3.30 am when the driver lost control of the steering  for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol.

Local people and passengers of other vehicles reportedly tried to help the accident victims out. Meghalaya Police personnel rushed to the spot this morning and monitored rescue operations.
Eight of the injured have been shifted to SMCH and the rest are undergoing treatment at Khleihriat CHC.

 Those admitted to SMCH have been identified as Amit Dey, Debendra Das, Mousumi Das, Mita Das, Sanchita Das, Phulu Debnath, Uttam Saha and Nabal Bora.

Some of the injured — C Phukan, Arjuna Sil, Rana Sil and Suhadil Sil — were being treated at Lelin Kaiteng Hospital. 

Nabal Bora, a BSF jawan stationed at Ambasa, told The Sentinel that the driver of the bus which belonged to Puja Travels was in an inebriated state and that he was driving the vehicle at high speed.

“Passengers asked the driver to control himself, but he refused to listen to them. At about 3.30 am, the driver lost control of the vehicle and it fell at least 300 feet down into the river,” said Bora.

According to Laxman Prasad, manager of the Puja Travels counter at Dharmanagar, the bus had a carrying capacity of 40. Sources, however, alleged that at least 62 passengers were travelling in the bus after the driver and the conductor picked up passengers from Ladrymbai, Jaintia Hills. THE SENTINEL

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