SIKKIM ACCIDENT WATCH: Nine Singla residents killed as vehicle plunges into Rangeet – Another vehicle does down, two feared drowned ?!!
From The Sikkim Express
By OP CHETTRI / JEEWAN SUBBA
NAMCHI/JORETHANG, August 27, 2010: Jorethang police fished nine bodies from Rangeet river following a horrible taxi mishap at Chirbireytar picnic spot while at least two more persons are missing from another accident in the same spot along the Jorethang-Melli road today.
Though the time when the first vehicle, a Spacio, skidded off the road and plunged into the raging Rangeet river could not be ascertained, police have managed to establish that the vehicle was carrying an unknown number of persons from Singla tea garden in Darjeeling district and adjoining the Jorethang town.
The passengers were proceeding towards Siliguri to attend a marriage ceremony of a villager. The villager had entered into a marriage with a girl from Nepal and the marriage was supposed to be held at Siliguri.
While the groom had proceeded to Siliguri from Darjeeling town, the villagers had taken the Jorethang-Melli road where the accident took place, it is informed.
The accident took place some 2 kms away from Jorethang town and it is suspected that the mishap occurred in the morning hours when the road was relatively free from traffic.
Jorethang police station came to know about the incident in the afternoon and immediately launched a search and rescue operation in the raging river. By the evening, the police team with support Jorethang fire station personnel and locals had recovered nine bodies-five women and four men.
The Spacio, at the moment, remains untraceable and could have been washed away. One girl child, believed to be part of the group, is still missing.
The police are yet to know whether there were more passengers in the vehicle apart from the nine dead persons. The vehicle is yet to be recovered and other details are still awaited, police sources said.
That the passengers were from Singla tea garden have been established after few villagers came and identified the bodies kept at the Jorethang primary health centre.
It is informed that the driver was one Chandan Gupta from Mazitar. He is also the owner of the vehicle.
The other deceased persons have been identified as Aliza Subba, Daya Sewa, Dhiraj Sewa, Vijayata Rai, Neeru Jogi, Mani Lal Rai, Durga Chettri and Priya Chettri.
Another tragic mishap
While the police team was engaged in recovering the bodies, news also filtered into Jorethang bazaar that a Bolero owned by a local contractor had also slipped into the river along the Jorethang-Melli road. The mishap is said to have taken place at a distance 500 m away from where the Spacio had fallen into the river.
“Rescue teams have gone to the spot. But we don’t know how many where there in the Bolero. We are awaiting more details”, said DC (South) AK Singh to SIKKIM EXPRESS.
Though the police are yet to authenticate the Bolero mishap, locals maintained that the vehicle had skidded off the road and was gobbled up by the river at around 10:30 am. The vehicle owner is said to be one Raju Dhanuka from Jorethang.
The occupant is the vehicle is unknown but it has been claimed that the Bolero was being driven by Roshan Dhanuka, the son of the vehicle owner. No bodies or the vehicle have been spotted yet along the river whose levels have increased considerable due to the heavy rainfalls.