A senior local official has disclosed that 22 people have been killed after a packed passenger bus plunged into the swelling Trishuli river off the highway at Chandi Bhanjyang village in Chitwan district early Friday in central Nepal.
According to reports, the death toll was initially put at 21, but deputy district chief Chet Narayan Sharma Ghimire said search and rescue workers had recovered another body, adding that 16 people were rescued from the partially submerged wreckage of the bus and are undergoing treatment at local hospitals.
He told AFP, “A team has been sent to pull out the bus. We will investigate the cause of the accident,” adding that the search was continuing to ensure no more passengers were unaccounted for.
District chief, Binod Prakash Singh, told AFP news agency, "Twenty-one people have died in the accident and 16 have been rescued," adding that the injured had been taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The bus was heading to the tourist town of Pokhara from the southern district of Rautahat.
Accidents are relatively common on Nepal’s highways because of poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving, and death tolls frequently run into double figures.
At least 25 people were killed last week when a crowded bus veered off a hilly road in Nepal’s Kavre district and fell some 500 metres (1,650 feet) down a slope.