The death toll in a bus plunge in Mugu has reached 32. Twenty-four people died on the spot and eight more during rescue and treatment. The rest, 11 passengers airlifted by helicopters for treatment in Nepalganj, are in critical condition.
The overloaded bus lost control and plunged down a steep slope near Rara Lake at about 12:30PM on Tuesday. Initial investigation points to brake failure as the cause of the accident. Most of the 43 passengers were travelling from Nepalganj to Mugu’s Gamgadhi to celebrate Dasain with their families.
Also on Tuesday, a passenger bus from Dhangadi to Bajura also fell off the highway, injuring 16. On Monday, another jeep careened off the road and fell off a cliff killing at least eight. It was carrying passengers from Kathmandu travelling to Ghandruk to celebrate Dasain holidays.
Nearly 50 people have died on Nepal’s highways in the last two days. The causes range from overloading because of the festival, negligence of drivers, mechanical failure, over-speeding, poor road condition because of a very wet monsoon, and an increasing number of unregulated private vehicles.
Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) in Nepal’s highways are so commonplace that most Nepalis are desensitied by the numbers. An average of seven individuals die in road accidents a day in Nepal and 40 are injured. In fact, more people die on Nepal’s highways every year than in all natural disasters combined.