At least 38 Indian pilgrims were killed on Sunday when their bus carrying them to a Hindu festival in southern Nepal plunged into a deep river.
According to reports, the bus was carrying 100 to 120 Hindu pilgrims to a temple in Nawalparasi district, 150 km west of the capital Kathmandu.
"We have discovered 38 dead bodies. Five persons who jumped off from the bus before it plunged into the river are undergoing treatment at local hospitals,” police inspector Deepak Raya said.
The victims include 28 men, 10 women and a five-year-old girl, mostly from the state of Uttar Pradesh.
"We are yet to find out the cause of the accident. The water level in the river was high as it is monsoon time so the bus on its way to Triveni sank... after skidding away from the road," Raya told AFP.
The pilgrims were to attend the annual religious festival at Triveni, on Monday morning, Raya informed.
Local sources say the driver lost control on the rain-slicked road, and the bus plunged into a flooded irrigation canal.
Rescue work was being carried out by the police and Nepal Army with the help of local people.
A team from the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, with doctor and an official from the Consulate General of India, Birgunj, were reportedly dispatched to the site of the accident.
Meanwhile, in a related incident, 15 persons were killed and 18 injured when a bus ferrying Amarnath pilgrims from Kashmir Valley plunged into a 300-feet deep gorge on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district.
The bus was carrying 32 pilgrims, mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The pilgrims were returning from Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir.
Investigations have revealed that the accident occurred due to over-speeding.
It has been reported that some seventy-four Amarnath pilgrims have died in the first 19 days of the pilgrimage.
Around 500,000 pilgrims have so far performed this year's Amarnath Yatra that began on June 25.
Cardiac arrest has been one of the most common natural causes of death among the pilgrims.
"As many as 67 yatris died during the ongoing pilgrimage, mostly due to cardiac arrest, during the first 17 days," an official of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) said.
38 Indian pilgrims killed in Nepal bus accident
By: Babu Thomas
Monday, 16 July 2012, 15:11 (IST)
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