Nineteen passengers travelling from Thimphu to Gelephu were taken to Damphu hospital yesterday afternoon, after a parcel containing hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC-22), which is a colourless gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners, exploded in the public transport.

Although no injuries and casualties were reported, sources said that a small cartoon box kept on the engine beside the driver exploded after the bus crossed Tsirang-Dagana junction and broke two window shields behind the driver and went flying down the cliff below the road. The bus was filled with gas, making it cloudy for a while.

The passengers were taken to the hospital to confirm the gas was non-poisonous and doctors at the Damphu hospital confirmed the exploded gas was not poisonous.

According to Tsirang police, Dolma Enterprise in Thimphu sent the parcel to the Vocational Training Institute (VTI) in Jigmeling in Gelephu for a training purpose.

Police said that the driver accepted the parcel without inquiring the details of the item inside.  “For being careless on carrying parcels, the documents of the driver were seized,” a police source said.  “Owner of Dolma Enterprise was also informed about the incident and we will soon be questioning them.”

Police said they would carry out a proper investigation to avoid such incident in the future.

Meanwhile, the case will be forwarded to the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) for further investigation and necessary action.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang