At least 44 people have been killed when the bus they were traveling on plunged into the Sunkoshi River at Riththebhir along the Khurkot-Nepalthok road section of the Banepa-Sindhuli-Bardibas highway Thursday morning.
According to UCPN (Maoist) village secretary Binod Rayamajhi, who witnessed the mishap, 44 dead bodies have been recovered from the incident site so far. All the bodies have been laid on the bank of the Sunkoshi River.
The Avenues Television has also put the death toll at 38. Some 11 passengers who were traveling on the roof of the bus survived the mishap jumping off the roof, the Kathmandu-based news TV channel reported quoting an eye witness.
It is said some 80 passengers were traveling on the bus when the accident took place at around 10:30 this morning. The ill-fated bus bearing the license plate Ba 2 Kha 9821 was heading to Kathmandu from Sindhuli.
Most of the passengers were returning to the capital after celebrating the Dashain festival in their home district.
Of the deceased, only the identity of the bus driver, Prem Tamang, has been established as yet. The driver´s carelessness and poor road conditions are believed to the cause of the accident.
Injured passengers are being brought to Dhulikhel for treatment while rescue operation is being carried out at the place of mishap with the help of police and locals, sources affirmed.