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Howrah woman dies in Sikkim

A tourist from Howrah was killed and eight others injured when the SUV they were travelling in skidded and plunged 150ft down into a gorge while returning to Gangtok after visiting Baba Mandir and Nathu-la in east Sikkim on Wednesday afternoon.

Rupa Mondol, 26, of Chandmari Road in Howrah, died on the spot, sources at the Third Mile police outpost said. Husband Raj Kumar Mondol, 32, is among the injured.

Sources said the vehicle carrying eight tourists and the driver skidded off Jawaharlal Nehru Marg at 20 Mile, about 30km from Gangtok, around 3.30pm.

Drivers of other Gangtok-bound vehicles stopped to help in the rescue operations. The army and the police reached the spot around half an hour later and pulled the injured up. They were taken to Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital in Gangtok around 8pm.

Doctors said most of them had suffered head and face injuries. “We are conducting X-rays to see if there are fractures,” said a doctor.

Utpal Mishra, 34, a tourist from West Midnapore who was in the vehicle, said the weather had turned foul with rain and hail.

“The car turned over at least six times before coming to a standstill. I somehow managed to climb out of the mangled vehicle and tried to help the others out. Later, we were taken to an army camp where we were given first aid before being taken to Gangtok,” Mishra said.

Police sources said the identities of the rest of the injured were being ascertained and their relatives would be informed about the accident after that.