ACCIDENT WATCH: Young lives lost as tyre-burst propels crowded bus into north Bengal pond – a time for tragedies across the region ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Cooch Behar, Aug. 29: As many as 15 people, many of them school students and young job aspirants, died this afternoon when a suspected tyre-burst sent a minibus hurtling into a pond beside the Cooch Behar-Dinhata road.
Preliminary investigations suggested that the driver of the bus lost control around 1pm after its right front tyre burst. It is not clear yet if the tyre was old but worn-out accessories and ancillaries have been a bane of Bengal’s public transport system.
The tube within the tyre was visible through the burst layer when the bus was fished out of water two hours after the accident. The delay and alleged lack of preparedness of the administration triggered a backlash with a mob attacking police.
No one was inside the bus when it was winched out. Some people claimed the driver and the conductor had fled but the version could not be confirmed independently.
Officials expressed the fear that some people could have been trapped in the silt of the pond bed. The officials could not say with certainty if anyone was missing as no one knew how many passengers the “crowded bus” was ferrying. Such vehicles ferry around 50 persons, although they can seat only 25-30.
Around 1.45pm — 45 minutes after the accident — Dinhata subdivisional officer Chiranjib Ghosh and the superintendent of the Dewanhat block primary health centre, Nikhil Das, arrived at the accident spot to face angry demonstrations.
At the health centre, about 200 metres away, five persons were declared brought dead followed by four others. Two persons died on way to the Dinhata hospital. At MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar town, four persons were declared dead on arrival.
A crane was brought at 3pm and the bus was hauled out of the water.
An hour later, the mob that had gathered in front of the health centre began throwing stones at the police who retreated into the premises and burst tear-gas shells.
The people then smashed windowpanes of a police van parked some 50 metres from the health centre.
The mob attacked policemen with stones, injuring several of them, including the deputy superintendent of police (crime), Sandip Mondol.
Some people said they were taken aback by the lethargic response of the administration. “They have no quick response team and no plan on how to handle such emergencies. Moreover, these private buses are never inspected and allowed to be overcrowded,” said Anirban Dutta, who owns a roadside grocery at Dewanhat.
District magistrate Smarki Mahapatra said: “The police had to used tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd. Fifteen persons died in the accident.”
At the morgue of the MJN Hospital stood Dilip Barman, whose son, a Class XII student from Dinhata, had gone to Cooch Behar in the morning for a clerkship examination. “I have lost my son, but he had a friend with him, Tinku Barman, who also went for the test. We cannot find him,” Barman mumbled.
Ratan Barman, 25, and his nephew Bimal Barman, 23, both exam candidates from Dinhata, have also died. “They are gone and we had some other distant relatives, too, who had appeared for the test. They are missing,” said Benoy Ray Sarkar, a relative of Ratan and Bimal.
Sakina Bibi, 25, who was in the bus with her son, Sakin Haque, 5, and sister Shaunaz Parveen, 18, survived as she forced open a windowpane and scrambled out as the bus slowly sank into the pond.
“We were all standing in the crowded bus after boarding it outside Cooch Behar town. Near Dewanhat, there was a loud bang and the bus that was going moderately fast fell into the pond. We screamed as the water gushed in. I clutched my son and broke open a window, clambered out and pulled out my sister and son,” Sakina said, sitting in the house of Mozammel Haque, a farmer who lives near the accident site.
Residents managed to rescue three men and send them to the Dewanhat block primary health centre, where they are recovering.
Chanchal Kanti Roy, who works for an NGO at Dewanhat, said minibuses ply the 24-kilometre Cooch Behar-Dinhata route on a regular basis.
“They often carry around 50 passengers. I heard a loud bang and then saw the bus fall into the pond that is nearly 12 feet deep. As we rushed towards it, we realised that it was slowly sinking into the water,” he said.
Fourteen killed on Black Friday in South – Yangyang mishap kills four, one still missing in Rangeet, nine bodies handed to Singla – Sikkim CM announces Rs 50,000 for each victim as reported by Darpan ?!!
From Sikkim Express
By OP Chettri
NAMCHI, August 28, 2010: Four persons were killed when a private car skidded off the track along Yangyang-Satam road and crashed some 300 feet down a cliff yesterday night at Yangyang making it a nightmarish Friday for South Sikkim where altogether fourteen people were killed in accidents.
During the day hours, two vehicles had serially slipped into Rangeet River along Jorethang-Melli road at Chirbirey Bhir near Jorethang town, killing nine and one more occupant is still untraceable.
SP (South) Manoj Tiwari told media here that a Maruti 800 (SK02A/0333) proceeding from Yangyang to Satam had fallen down 300 feet down the road yesterday night at around 11 pm.
“There were five occupants in the car and four were found dead when police personnel from Ravangla and Yangyang reached the spot”, said the SP.
Those killed in the tragic incident were the vehicle owner, Tika Ram Gurung (27), Dil Kumar Rai (35) from Upper Satam, Bisnu Prasad Rai (33) from Upper Satam and Pawan Kumar Subba from Dhojak Ravangla.
Nik Kumar Gurung from Upper Pathing who was injured in the incident has been admitted at Yangyang primary health centre for treatment.
Bad weather, fog and slippery conditions of the road may have caused the accident, said the SP.
The bodies were handed over to the family members after postmortem at Yangyang primary health centre.
Meanwhile, Jorethang police have traced the Bolero (SK02A-3925) that had slipped down into Rangeet River from Chirbirey Bhir yesterday. Efforts are on to recover the vehicle out of the river while the driver, Roshan Denuka from Jorethang is still missing, police said.
The Bolero is said to have fallen into the river at around 10:30 am yesterday.
Hours before the Bolero mishap, a Spacio (SK04-4683) had met with an accident at the same spot and had drowned into the river killing nine persons including the driver. The vehicle was proceeding towards Siliguri from Singla tea garden, Darjeeling district to attend a marriage at Siliguri.
The bodies were handed over to the legal guardians after completing all formalities by Jorethang police.
While from KalimNews
4 people died in a road accident near Yangyang of south Sikkim. A Maruti 800 SK 02 -0333 that skidded off the road at Samroc Bhirkuna on Yangyang Ravangla road.
The dead are Bishnu prasad Rai, Dil kumar Rai, Madan Gurung and Lolay Subba of Tam, Upper Yangyang and Tojok. Mir kumar Gurung is injured and admited at Hospital of Yangyang.
In a bike accident 1 young girl died in Kalimpong.
The accident occurred at 6th Mile Barbot when a Pulsar 200 WB 74 N- 8385 driving by Krishna Chhetri 20 with Deepika Sunar 19 in the pillion collided with a truck WB 73- 5244 .
Both Sunar and Chhetri were of Mangal Danra.
The girl Deepika died at the spot, while Krishna is severely injured in the accident and admitted in the SD hospital.