CALCUTTANS IN HILL CRASH 

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By FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT in Siliguri
  • Published 24.04.02
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Siliguri, April 24 :    Siliguri, April 24:  They had set out to escape the sultry Calcutta summer. But before they could reach Gangtok, their Commander jeep plunged into river Teesta, some 9 km from the Bengal-Sikkim border of Rangpoo. Three of the passengers and the driver of the jeep died. Nine other passengers were seriously injured. They are being treated at the Tashi Namgyal hospital in Gangtok. Seven members of the Chatterjee family from Noyapara, Maheshtala, Dum Dum and Baranagar, and the three-member Chakraborty family and the Pal couple had hired the jeep (WB-76-2469) early this morning from Siliguri to go to Gangtok. Among the group were a 55-year-old constable of the Kalitala police station in South 24-Parganas. There were also two babies - 14-month-old Samarpan and two-year-old Puspak. The dead have been identified as Nilima Chatterjee, Swapan Chatterjee, Kajol Chatterjee and Sanjay Kumar Mahato, the driver. Darjeeling superintendent of police Sanjay Chander, after hearing the version of the injured, blamed "reckless driving" for the accident. "The driver, in a tearing hurry to make a second return trip between Siliguri and Gangtok, lost control of the vehicle. The jeep overshot the winding road and hurtled into the Teesta. The vehicle plunged some 150 feet into the turbulent river," he said. Assistant medical superintendent of the Gangtok hospital, Dr S.C. Pradhan, said: "Sushil Chatterjee is fighting for his life. He has been shifted to the Manipal referral hospital at Tadong on the outskirts of Gangtok." The remaining eight have been identified as Mithu Chatterjee (Swapan's wife) and her son Samarpan, Sujit Chatterjee, Sipra Chatterjee, Bhogpatti Chakroborty and his wife Subarna and son Puspak besides Parichay Pal. Puspak and Pal, though seriously injured, are stated to be out of danger.