PALPA/JHAPA, July 22: Nineteen people were killed and 23 others injured in separate road accidents in Arghakhanchi and Jhapa districts on Sunday.
Fifteen people died and four others were injured when a minibus heading for Arghakhanchi district headquarters Sandhikharka from Butwal veered off the road and fell some 200 meters down into a ravine at Dahakhola of Narpani Village Development Committee (VDC) in Arghakhachi at around 5:30 in the evening.
The bodies of minibus owner Narayan Prasad Panthi of Bangi VDC, Arghakhanchi, driver Rajendra Patel of Chanauta, Kapilvastu, Sita Basnet of Wangla, Arghakhanchi, National Investigation Department staffer Meghraj Khanal of Shringa, Gulmi and Krishna Prasad Chaudhary have been identified, while others have yet to be identified.
The injured passengers have been taken to Butwal for further treatment after primary care at the district hospital in Sandhikharka. Two of the injured are in critical condition. Police said the accident occurred due to narrow and serpentine roads. The Force minibus (Ba 2 Kha 7948) has been completely damaged in the accident.
Meanwhile, four persons were killed and 19 others were injured when a bus carrying funeral attendants met with an accident at Laxmipur of Ghailadubba VDC along the East-West Highway in Jhapa.
Dharam Chaudhary, 52, Baruwa Chaudhary, 35, and Nirmala Rajbanshi, 42, of Shanischare-5, and Biru Rajbanshi, 32, of Shanischare-6, who were returning after cremation of Kulata Rajbanshi on the Kankai river bank, died on the spot when the speeding bus (Ko 1 Kha 892) hit a roadside tree while trying to overtake a truck.
Police said some died of head injuries while others were crushed in the wreckage. "The driver while trying to overtake a truck at a very high speed lost control and the bus turned turtle after hitting a tree by the side of the road," the injured passengers said. The driver, who was driving at a high speed despite repeated requests by the funeral attendants to drive slow, has been absconding after the accident.
Police said Kamal Rajbanshi of Arjundhara-4 is in critical condition and has been taken to Neuro Hospital, Biratnagar for treatment, while 18 others are being treated at different hospitals in Birtamode.