8 dead, 12 injured in Sikkim road accident

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Gangtok, Oct 4 (UNI) At least eight people, including six Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans, were killed and 12 injued when an overloaded taxi slipped off a road near Kumrek on the Rohthang-Rangpo road in east Sikkim today.

The spot of the accident is about 65 km away from Gangtok.

Superintendent of police of East District M S Tuli said the vehicle, overloaded with 18 passengers, fell down 300 feet from a cliff near Kumrek. Most of the passengers, including the SSB jawans, were going to Siliguri from Rongli when the accident took place.

The vehicle was coming from Rongli, a sub-divisional town in east Sikkim, to the border town of Rangpo on its way to Siliguri.

Mr Tuli, who had reached the spot soon after the incident to oversee the rescue operations, said the deceased included driver Anil Kumar Rai, a civilian and four jawans of the SSB -- Binod Kumar Teli, a resident of Alipurduar, B V Satyanarayanan from Andhra Pradesh, D D Karamchand of Uttaranchal and B Raja Rao of Andhra Pradesh.

Parimal Rai, a teacher from Chujachen, also died on the spot.

Two other SSB jawans Brij Mohan Nathang, a resident of Arunachal Pradesh, and Mohinder Chand Dey of Tripura, died while being taken to the hospital.

He said the injured were first rushed to the Rangpo primary health centre. Six of the injured were referred to the STNM hospital in Gangtok and three were taken to nursing homes in Siliguri.

Most of the injured were SSB jawans. The jawans belonged to a Company of the 10th Battalion of the SSB stationed in Malbazaar in West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the SSB has decided to airlift the grievously injured jawans to Delhi in a special plane for urgent medical attention.

The bodies were taken to the Rangpo PHC for post mortem.

He said overloading, overspeeding and rash negligent driving were suspected to be the causes of the accident. A case had been registered for rash and negligent driving. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.

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