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8 Indians ‘suffocate’ in Nepal hotel room

The victims were members of two families part of a 15-strong group from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode

By Our Special Correspondent and Agencies in Kathmandu and Bangalore
  • Published 22.01.20, 2:02 AM
  • Updated 22.01.20, 2:02 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Ranjith Kumar with Indu Lakshmi Peethambaran (Sourced by The Telegraph)

Eight Indian tourists from Kerala including four children died of suspected suffocation in a hotel in Nepal, probably after trying to keep warm by using a gas heater during the night, police said on Tuesday.

The victims, members of two families who were part of a 15-strong group from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, were staying in Daman, a hill resort in Makawanpur district south of Kathmandu known for its panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges.

“They had lit a gas heater to keep the room warm and probably suffocated,” police official Hobindra Bogati said.

The other tourists in the group who were returning after a visit to Pokhara were unharmed.

The dead have been identified as Praveen Krishnan Nair, 39, a native of Chenkotukonam, Thiruvananthapuram, who worked as an engineer in Dubai, his wife Sharanya Sasi, 34, their children Sribhadra Praveen, 9, Archa Praveen and Abhinav Nair; software engineer Ranjith Kumar, 39, from Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode, his wife Indu Lakshmi Peethambaran, 34, and their two-year-old son Vaishnav.

Praveen and Ranjith were classmates at the Shree Chithra Thirunal College of Engineering in Thiruvananthapuram and were on a reunion trip, a family member said.

Praveen Krishnan Nair and Sharanya Sasi with their children Sribhadra, Archa and Abhinav
Praveen Krishnan Nair and Sharanya Sasi with their children Sribhadra, Archa and Abhinav (Sourced by The Telegraph)

Relatives of Ranjith told reporters in Kozhikode that his elder son Madhav survived since he slept in another room.

The eight victims were airlifted to HAMS hospital in Kathmandu where they were pronounced dead on arrival, superintendent of police Sushil Singh Rathaur said.

“A doctor from the Indian mission was immediately sent to the hospital to check on the welfare of the patients and to provide necessary assistance,” a source at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said. “We have now been informed that all eight patients did not survive.”

As news trickled in, families and neighbours thronged the homes of the two families. State minister Kadakampally Surendran was among those who visited the Thiruvananthapuram family.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to minister for external affairs S. Jaishankar, seeking all cooperation to the families. The department of non-resident Keralites affairs was coordinating the efforts to repatriate the bodies by Thursday.

Minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan said Indian embassy officials were taking steps to bring the bodies back to India as early as possible.

The tourists were on their way back home and had stayed on Monday night at the resort in Daman, situated at an altitude of nearly 8,000ft. According to the resort’s manager, the guests stayed in a room and turned on a gas heater to keep themselves warm.

Although they had booked four rooms, eight of them stayed in one room and the others in another room, the manager said, adding that all the windows and the door of the room were bolted from inside.

Additional reporting by PTI and Reuters