The Kameng river where the mishap took place
Tezpur, Aug. 19: Twelve people are feared killed and two were seriously injured when a Tezpur-bound Tata Sumo (AS-12-E-1666) fell into the Kameng river near Bhalukpong circuit house in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district this morning.
According to the information available here, the vehicle started its journey last evening from Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) to Tezpur in Assam’s Sonitpur district, 56km from the accident site, carrying 14 people, including the driver.
However, the body of one Anwar Hussain of Thelamara, 25km from here, was recovered from the Kameng river, while two others, rescued alive, were identified as L. Rahman of Barpeta in lower Assam and Abdul Hussain of Dhekiajuli (Sonitpur district).
The two were admitted to Kanaklata civil hospital but this correspondent found none of them when he reached there. It is believed that as the duo had sustained head injuries, they were referred to Guwahati.
Sources said neither the vehicle nor the other occupants were found till the time of filing this report.
Given the identity of the victims and the injured, sources said the other occupants, in all probability, were also from the minority community and were returning home for Id tomorrow.
“The vehicle skidded off the road and fell into the Kameng river 25 metres below,” a police source said. “It fell into the river after losing control while negotiating the Down bridge.”
According to Bhalukpong extra assistant commissioner R. Raksab, the Sumo left Tawang on Saturday with 10 passengers, picked up one more at Jawang in Tawang district and three more at Dirang. The occupants spent the night at Bomdila and resumed their journey this morning.
The rescue team comprising police and army personnel tried to recover the bodies and the vehicle from the river but could not because of the rising water level. An NDRF team also rushed to spot. Rescue operations will resume tomorrow.
Police sources said most of the passengers were workers engaged in Tawang.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki has shared his deep sense of grief over the loss of lives in the road accident.
He directed the district administration and police to immediately launch a rescue operation and also spoke to the army seeking its help in the process. “Only two passengers managed to escape the accident but were grievously injured. They have been evacuated to Tezpur for further treatment,” Tuki’s office said.
The site is quite accident-prone. A truck had fallen into the river a couple of years back but till date, neither the truck nor its three occupants have been found, sources said.