Mangan, 17 Aug:

Three people were killed and 40 injured in a tragic road mishap here at Mangan in North Sikkim today involving an SNT bus. The morning service bus of Sikkim Nationalized Transport bearing registration number SK-01B-0241 plying from Gangtok to Mangan plunged nearly 100 feet off the road and tumbled onto the road below here at Ambithang, one kilometer short of Mangan.

The deceased have been identified as Dhan Raj Limboo [60] of Mangshila, Prabin Nair [26] of Namok, and Dup Tshering Bhutia [49], the Panchayat Secretary of Phensong, all from North Sikkim.

Forty three occupants including the driver and the conductor were on board the ill-fated bus, out of whom 39 sustained injuries grievous enough for them to be referred to STNM Hospital and CRH Tadong in Gangtok after being provided first aid at District Hospital Mangan. One of the injured passengers is undergoing treatment at Mangan.

Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel were the first responders to rescue operations. The residents of Ambithang, Mangan and Rangang also rushed to the spot along with Police personnel.

The dead bodies have been handed over to the family members after autopsy at District Hospital.

On hearing about the incident, area MLA-cum-Deputy Speaker, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, Minister of Transport, DT Lepcha, MP-Rajya Sabha, Hishey Lachungpa, Zilla Adhyakshya-North, Anguli Lepcha, and Chairperson-Transport, Pintso Namgyal Lepcha, visited the District Hospital to meet the injured occupants.

It may be mentioned here that Gangtok-Mangan SNT service had been resumed a few months ago after a very long hiatus to make commuting easier for office goers and the public in general.

The last time that an SNT bus was involved in a major mishap was eleven years ago on 25 October 2006 when a bus had fallen off NH10 near Singtam claiming 21 lives.

Talking with SummitTimes, Secretary Transport department stated that the department is saddened by the accident and victims will be provided ex-gratia amounts as per government and department norms as soon as possible.

The accident has brought to light the lack of ambulance and staff at the District Hospital since ambulance and the official vehicles of NHPC Teesta Stage IV had to be pressed into service for rescue operations today.