39 pilgrims killed in bus accident in Nepal

Kathmandu: At least 39 pilgrims, mostly Indians, were killed today when an overcrowded bus skidded off a slippery road and plunged into a flooded canal in southern Nepal. The bus was carrying 100 to 120 Hindu pilgrims, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, to a temple in Nawalparasi district, 150 kilometres west of the capital Kathmandu, police officials in Nawalparasi district.

The accident site — Gandak Canal — is located some 250 km south west of Kathmandu. The ill-fated bus veered off a rain-slicked highway and fell into the flooded irrigation canal, police said. Most of the passengers were Indian nationals who were going to attend the Bolbam festival in Tribenighat, they said, adding the death toll may go up. Among the 39 people killed were 10 women and a girl child, they said. Most of those killed were Indians.

Ten Indians were also injured, police said. The identities of the deceased are not yet known. The bus was overloaded, which might be the main reason of the accident, police said. Some of passengers were travelling on the roof of the vehicle. Rescue work was being carried out by the police and Nepal Army with the help of local people.