Five passengers were killed and 22 injured when a tripper truck they were traveling in veered off the road at Rikhey in Samdrupjongkharon June 30.

The accident occurred around 5:30pm. According to police, the vehicle fell about 150 metres below the road. There were 27 passengers including the driver on board.

Of the five deceased, four died on impact while a-23-year-old woman died on the way to the hospital. A 15-year-old girl from Lhuntse, a 47 -year-old woman from Pemagatshel, a-13-year-old monk from Mongar and a-23-year-old woman and a-60-year-old man from Samdrupjongkhar died in the accident.

Police officials said the deceased succumbed to severe head injuries and excessive internal bleedings. The other 22 passengers were undergoing treatment as they have sustained multiple physical injuries. They are all in stable condition.

Police said unlicensed driving and overload of passengers could be the cause of the accident. “It is also suspected that the accident could have occurred while giving way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction.”

The passengers were volunteers who had gone to clear the bushes at the teak plantation in Rikhey. The accident occurred on their way home. It was learnt that there were about 150 volunteers including them. The 22-year-old driver, who was also injured, is under observation at the hospital.

There were 10 motor vehicle accidents cases registered in Samdrupjongkhar and 17 cases in Pemagatshel to date this year.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar