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Journey to Sunday Synod turns tragic
NONGSTOIN/ SHILLONG: A journey to attend a church gathering in West Khasi Hills on Sunday morning turned fatal as 17 occupants of a speeding truck that was carrying 78 people were killed after the vehicle rammed into a concrete barricade on National Highway 44(E).
All the 78 passengers were on their way to attend a Synod at Nonglang village under Nongspung in the district. The accident took place around 8.25am when the driver, Oldining Syiem, lost control while taking a turn.
“The occupants were thrown out of the speeding truck (ML06 4474) resulting in more casualties,” West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar Kembhavi said and added that while 12 people were killed on the spot, five persons died in Nongstoin Civil Hospital.
The magistrate, police, doctors and nearby villagers rushed to the spot and took the injured people to the hospitals.
The 17 victims and the injured person are from Nginiong Nongbudum and Mawbyrkong villages in West Khasi Hills.
One of the injured, 21-year-old Sukmary Lyngkhoi of Nginiong who is admitted in NEIGRIHMS, told The Shillong Times that the driver had no control of the truck.
Another survivor said, “The passengers had warned the driver to slow down “but he did not respond and acted selfishly”.
As many as 61 people were injured in the accident. Among the 17 persons who died, eight were female occupants. The youngest among the dead was a 13-year-old girl.
While some of the injured are undergoing treatment at Nongstoin Civil Hospital and Markasa primary health centre, the critically injured were shifted to Shillong Civil Hospital, NEIGRIHMS and Robert Hospital.
Health Minister Roshan Warjri visited Shillong Civil Hospital and met the relatives of the victims. She directed doctors to render all support to the injured.
Speaking to reporters, she expressed her grief and prayed for the injured.
The driver, who is admitted in Nongstoin Civil Hospital, has been booked under Section 304A of the IPC for rash and negligent driving, police said. “Test will be carried out to ascertain whether he was drunk, but the case against him will be taken up by the police for speeding,” the DC said.
West Khasi Hills SP S. Nongtnger said the deceased persons have been identified as Carefully Wahlang (13), Queentimary Nonglang (16), Stranli Lyngkhoi (18), Danisha Nonglang (21), Twilis Lyngkhoi (50), Shantidora Lyngkhoi (21), Roster Mawtyllup (38), Phlaslaibistar Paliar (30), Trangborlin Nonglang (14), Stanbor Phyllut (38), Jejanstar Lyngkhoi (38), Rikstar Paliar (55)
The five passengers who died in Nongstoin Civil Hospital have been identified as Thrangbor Wahlang, Kyrshanbor Kharsyntiew, Ricky Lyngkhoi, Bisilin Lyngkhoi and Drialtina Lyngkhoi.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh offered their condolences to the bereaved families.
In a statement to the media, Sangma said, “The authorities, relatives and people of the area are taking all measures to ensure that there is no further loss of life and provide all other assistance to the affected and bereaved families.”
“I express my deepest condolences to the members of all the bereaved families and sincerely pray that the Almighty provide solace and strength to overcome the grief and the irreparable loss,” he added.
Lyngdoh said he would ensure that police take action against those involved.