20 killed and over 40 missing as overcrowded bus crashes into Nepal river

Monday, May 19, 2008

20 people are confirmed to have died, 28 have been rescued injured and more than forty are known to be missing after an overcrowded bus plunged into the Rapti River in a mountainous region of West Nepal. The 45-seater vehicle was carrying at least ninety when it skidded off a highway in Dang district, and many were trapped as the bus sank.

Police and rescue crews pulled some people out alive but do not believe there wil be any more survivors. "The bus fell 100 metres off the road into the Rapti river. Thirty-two people have been rescued and are getting treatment at a nearby hospital," said local police officer Purna Gurung, although this disagrees with the Thaindian News, which states 28 were injured, and that just under half of these are hospitalised in a serious condition.

"We fear there may be bodies inside the bus and some may have been swept down the river... We are currently trying to lift the bus out of the river with a crane," he told reporters, adding that no cause has yet been established but it is known that no other vehicles were involved. Search and rescue and recovery operations were hampered by the remote location of the disaster.

The bus was headed to a remote Hindu temple on a hilltop. At least 36 people are confirmed to be Indian nationals on a pilgrimage to the holy site.


This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2008-05-19 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)