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Car crash kills 5, injures 8
Failure to turn bend leads to accident

Kalimpong, April 22: An SUV going from Sikkim to Siliguri plunged about 100 feet down a hill as the driver failed to negotiate a bend on NH31A near Kalimpong this afternoon, killing five persons and injuring eight others.

The injured were initially taken to the health centre at Melli on the Sikkim side before being shifted to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital. While four died on the spot, another passenger succumbed to injuries at the Melli health centre.

The share taxi from Singtam in East Sikkim met with the accident at a secluded place between Kirney and Melli. The accident spot is around 20km from here. Of the five deceased, four were men and one a woman. Police said only three of the deceased persons could be identified and they were driver Sitaram Chhetri from Lingzey in East Sikkim, Anisur Rahman of Islampur and Furmit Lepcha, a woman from Chhota Singtam in East Sikkim.

Of the eight injured, six were identified.

Some of the injured passengers said the accident occurred when the driver had failed to negotiate a bend. “We were coming smoothly when all of a sudden, the driver failed to negotiate a bend on the highway. The vehicle went straight and rolled down the hill,” said a critically injured passenger.

A police source said the accident had happened between 1.30pm and 2pm. The passengers of the ill-fated vehicle were taken to the hospital by those travelling on other taxis and Kalimpong police.

One of the injured, Mohammad Azmal of Islampur, said he was a scrap dealer based in Singtam and was on his way to his native place. “ I was carrying Rs 2 lakh in a bag. One of the rescuers took my bag with him and I can’t remember his face,” he said.

Ramu Chhetri from Assam, brother Tirtharaj Chhetri and his wife Sita were also injured in the crash. The other two injured persons who have been identified are Shanta Chhetri from Mangan in Sikkim and Pramila Mangar from Nepal.