There has been yet another tragedy in Nepal. Multiple media sources are reporting a bus accident on a mountain road in Nepal has resulted in the deaths of at least 33 people with dozens more hospitalized. The dead apparently include at least 12 women and a child.
A Nepalese government official confirmed the Nepal bus accident to the press, saying that an overcrowded bus had skidded off a road in Nepal on Tuesday, rolling down a hill and leading to 33 deaths and more than 30 injuries.
Apparently several people were riding on the roof of the bus when it fell over, and witnesses say the bus rolled due to the large number of passengers, according to Shiva Ram Gelal, chief district government officer in Nepal’s Rasuwa district where the accident occurred. The bus ended up sliding around 650 feet down a hill.
Nepalese military and police officers assisted by locals undertook a rescue operation after the crash outside of Ramche village close to 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Kathmandu.
More on Tuesday’s Nepal bus accident
Nepali police are investigating the fatal bus accident. A couple of witnesses have reported that the accident was initially caused by a flat tire on a front wheel of the bus, and then the driver could not maintain control due to the weight of the more than 100 passengers on the bus.
Bus accidents in Nepal are not uncommon, and are often caused by poorly maintained roads and vehicles.
Also keep in mind the current severe fuel shortage has forced many people to try and travel on the roofs of buses, which is officially not permitted for safety reasons. Residents of Kathmandu say, however, that today is has has become common to see people packed on top of the roof of a bus, and police almost never interfere.
The semi-permanent fuel shortage in Nepal has been exacerbated recently as protesters have blocked a key border point with India for more than a month, leading to a blockage of the import of fuel, food and other goods.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police for Rasuwa, Abadesh Bista, noted over 20 passengers involved in the Nepal bus accident have been taken Kathmandu and the remainder to the District Hospital at Dunche for treatment of their injuries.
A passenger named Shiva Acharya who escaped the accident by leaping off the bus as it tilted over, said the Nepal bus accident was caused by a flat tire on the front wheel of the bus.
Nepal has history of fatal bus accidents
Nepal is one of the most mountainous countries in the world, and has an unfortunate history of fatal bus crashes, many with vehicles overcrowded with people.
A January 2013 Nepal bus accident killed 30 people when a bus hit a pole on the side of a road in Doti district and fell 700 feet off a cliff. Tragically, another bus accident involving 15 deaths occurred less than a month before.
In another case, a bus driver lost control around a hairpin turn in western Nepal’s mountains in September 2012, with the bus falling off a cliff and resulting in the deaths of 29 people.
Around a year earlier, more than 40 people died when a bus plunged into a river in Eastern Nepal. Overcrowding is also suspected as a factor in that accident.