Three persons, including a nine-month-old girl, were killed and around 18 persons injured after a pickup van they were travelling in turned turtle and fell into a roadside ditch along NH-33 near Nargadih under Chandil thana in the neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan, around 30km from here, on Saturday morning.
According to eyewitnesses, the presence of a crash barrier on the highway could have reduced the severity of the accident.
“Had there been a crash barrier, as is the norm, the van would not have fallen into the ditch. However, work on NH-33 widening is yet to be completed,” an eyewitness said.
Chandil OC Ranvijay Singh said the van was carrying over 20 passengers against its capacity of 12 persons.
The victims were returning from a wedding at Jhalda in Bengal’s Purulia district when the accident took place around 4 in the morning.
“The van was coming via Silli and Chowka and had planned to halt at Nagardih in Chandil for breakfast before dropping of the passengers at the respective destinations. The driver dozed off and lost control of the speeding vehicle, which overturned and fell into the ditch, nearly 500 metres from Nagardih along NH-33,” Singh said.
Govardhan Singh Sardar (30), a native of Rangamatia in Tamar, died on the spot while a nine-month-old Rupa Singh Munda, daughter of Dulmi (Tamar) resident Geeta Singh Sardar, passed away while being brought to MGM Hospital in Jamshedpur. Khipa Singh Sardar (32), a native of Moreya Kolabera in Seraikela succumbed to grievous injuries at MGM Hospital.
“Those with minor injuries were sent to Chandil hospital while the critically injured were rushed to MGM Hospital. A few victims were later shifted from MGM Hospital to Tata Main Hospital for better treatment in state-owned ambulances,” the Chandil OC said.
Those who have been admitted to MGM Hospital are Geeta Singh Sardar (24), Chalda Muni Sardar (45), Sombari Sardar (65), Subhadra Devi (60), Rohit Singh Sardar (34), Sukuram Mardi (60), Deepak Singh Sardar (4), Khirodhan Singh (30) and Jamuna Singh Sardar (10).
The identity of the two who are being treated at Tata Main Hospital is yet to be ascertained.