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24 Oct 2018

DOCTOR & PARENTS AMONG DECEASED... Car falls into Sikkim gorge, Calcutta 5 die

Bivash Pathak and Lily
Siliguri/ Gangtok/ Calcutta: Four members of a family and one of the relatives from the northern fringes of Calcutta, who were part of a 14-member tourist group,died when an SUV fell into a 100 ft deep gorge at Tinzerbong in West Sikkim on Monday night.
“A group of tourists from North 24-Paraganas district in Bengal was on a trip to Sikkim.They were going to Kaluk in West Sikkim from Namchi on Monday evening in two vehicles. The first SUV passed the stretch at Tinzerbong but the second vehicle fell into a gorge, killing five persons on the spot, ” said a senior police officer in Sikkim..

He said a probe had been initiated and the police would talk to the driver to know how the accident had occurred.

The deceased are Bivash Pathak, 42, a doctor at Tehatta Sub Divisional Hospital in Nadia, his parents -- Brojendra nath, 71, and Ashalata, 61, Lily 52, a cousin of Bivash, and Niharendu Biswas, 41, one of their relatives.

Pratap, Niharendu's brother, Tusher Kanti Pathak, Lily's husband, and Ashim Rai, the driver, were injured. The reason of the crash remained unclear till this evening. The driver is under treatment at Namchi, while the other two injured persons have been shifted to Siliguri district hospital.

Sources in the tourism industry said though the roads in West Sikkim were in good condition, visibility often became a problem due to fog.

"Local people rushed to the spot and carried out the rescue operation. Then, police came and seized the bodies, which were sent to Geyzing, the headquarters of west district," said a source.

Bivash's wife Sumana and his two daughters, along with other members of the group, were in the other vehicle.

"We hired two vehicles to visit Kaluk. In one of the cars, I was travelling with my two daughters and others. Bivash was in the other car with his parents and other relatives. It was around 8 pm when we were returning from Kaluk and the visibility was not poor. The car in which Bivash was travelling was behind us.

Our driver was in a hurry and sometimes I found he was driving recklessly even while negotiating sharp curves and the other car was following us. We thought he was experienced enough to drive along hilly roads at night, so I did not warn him," said Sumana.

Sumana was looking back frequently to see whether the other vehicle was following her car.

"We found that the headlights of the other car were not visible. I thought the driver slowed down. I asked our driver to reduce the speed so that my husband's car can follow us. But the other vehicle was not seen. Sensing trouble, I asked our driver to take a turn to trace them. After going a few hundred metres, we found the car rolled down the gorge and stuck in a bamboo grove. We screamed for help and I fainted," she recalled.

Friends and relatives of the family in Calcutta rushed to Siliguri on Tuesday morning. They attended to the injured and other members of the group, who are still in state of shock, and made arrangements to take the bodies to Machlandapur.

"Hilly roads tend to get foggy in evenings and hence, visibility comes down. This might be one of the reasons for the accident. We always advise tourists not to travel in the hills during late evening and night hours because of the sharp curves and bends," said Samrat Sanyal, who is associated with travel trade.

Bivash was posted at the sub-divisional hospital in Tehatta, Nadia three months ago from the School of Tropical Medicine.

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