Over-speeding led to Gomtu-bound bus accident

Traffic: The Gomtu bound Meto transport coaster bus, which rammed into a speeding truck and killed three passengers in Madarihaat on March 1, was over-speeding, injured passengers told Kuensel.

Most of the injured passengers, who are recovering at Phuentsholing hospital, said the late driver didn’t pay heed to the passengers’ request to slow the speeding bus.

A Penden Cement Agency (PCA) employee, Sonam Pelden, 34, is among the injured. “I also requested the driver to not speed,” she said. “He drove unusually fast that day.” Her six-year-old daughter, also travelling with her, was unhurt. “I had to move my daughter for fear of accident from the window side,” she said.

Although Sonam Pelden doesn’t remember what transpired the moment after the bus hit the running truck since she lost consciousness, she was told that the bus had hit a man (an Indian) on the road, which led to the accident.

She suffered a severe facial-cut injury and also hurt her right arm.  However, the medical officer in-charge at the hospital, Thinley Pelzang said, she had no internal bleeding.

Sources said the man the bus hit was severely injured and admitted at a hospital in Madarihaat.

Before the bus had crashed into the truck, Kuensel learnt that the driver had stopped the bus and got into a heated argument with an Indian trucker on the highway.

Until yesterday morning, there were three other passengers, two women and a man, recovering at the hospital. One of them is a 35-year-old nurse in Gomtu hospital who left for Gomtu yesterday, while a man in his mid 50s and Sonam Pelden are still at the hospital.

The 50-year old man, however, wasn’t in a condition to talk. He had a deep cut below his chest.

Thinley Pelzang said they were in “stable condition” and would need about a week to recover completely.

There were 19 passengers in the bus. The driver, 50 and a 20-year-old died on the spot, while a 34-year-old woman died right after she was reached the hospital.

She had come to Phuentsholing the same morning to shop for her daughter, who had recently qualified her class X examinations. The daughter, who had also accompanied the mother, was unhurt.

The 20-year-old man was travelling to Gomtu for the first time, and on his way to report for a temporary job at one of the factories there.

Meanwhile, Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) officials in Phuentsholing said the report on the actual cause of accident was yet to be issued by police in India.

“The police team there is investigating,” Phuentsholing RSTA’s chief deputy transport officer, Phuntsho Wangdi, said.  An officer-in-charge from Gelephu is helping the Indian police, as the jurisdiction doesn’t fall under Phuentsholing.

The wrecked bus is at the Madarihaat police station, while the bodies were brought to Phuentsholing last evening and handed over to their families.

Information and communications minister, DN Dhungyel, visited the recovering patients and their relatives in the hospital yesterday morning.  He also provided semso to relatives of those deceased.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

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