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Saturday, October 22, 2011

30 died and several injured in Bijanbari...Governor in Kalimpong...Trekker injured

Bridge collapse kills 27 in hills
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 22: A bridge packed with a festival crowd caved in near Darjeeling town this evening, killing at least 27 people when the wooden walkway tumbled 150ft into a swift-flowing river.
Police sources said nearly 80 people were injured in the 7pm collapse in Bijanbari, about 40km from Darjeeling town.

Most of those on the bridge — suspended by steel cables over the Little Rangit — were Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters who had gathered for a cultural programme organised by the outfit as part of its five-day festival in the hills. Today was the festival’s last day.
Photo:  Sandeep Subba

Darjeeling district magistrate Saumitra Mohan said at least 27 people were killed in the collapse. “We have reports that some of the casualties were taken away by villagers from the incident site.”
Mohan, who reached the spot, added that efforts were on to send the injured to the Darjeeling district hospital.
Police sources said the darkness was hampering rescue and efforts were on to set up floodlights. “There is considerable water in the swift-flowing river and we fear that some of the victims could have been swept away by the current. The terrain is also very difficult,” said a senior police officer on the spot.
Sources in the district administration said the bridge, about 80ft long and 6ft wide, was built by the Darjeeling zilla parishad in 1972.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said party volunteers were helping the police to rescue the injured.
The death bridge before the collapse

“Our party president, Bimal Gurung, and I had visited Bijanbari this morning…. In the evening there was a large crowd, mostly local residents and those from nearby tea gardens of Chunthung, Marybong and Linga, who had gathered to witness the cultural programmes and the mela on the other side of the bridge,” Giri said.
In Calcutta, chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters she had asked north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb and Siliguri MLA Rudranath Bhattacharya to rush to Darjeeling.
Mamata, who is expected to leave for Darjeeling tomorrow, said the Bengal government would do all it could to stand by those affected “during this tragic hour” and bear all medical expenses.
Survivor Nirmal Chhetri, a driver, recalled the horror from his bed in Darjeeling district hospital. “There was a loud sound and I saw the bridge collapsing. I fell and cannot remember what happened after that.”
SNS, SILIGURI/KURSEONG, 22 OCT: At least 27 people were killed and more than 50 others injured when a bridge collapsed at Bijanbari in the Darjeeling Hills this evening.
Police said that the wooden bridge over the Little Rangeet river suddenly collapsed when more than 80 people were on it, some of whom were on foot. Many of the victims were visiting a local fair and cultural festival organised by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha in Bijanbari. The incident took place around 6.30 pm, eye-witnesses said.
The Darjeeling district magistrate, Mr Saumitra Mohan, who has reached the spot, said: “At least 27 people were killed and several dozen others injured. They fell into the Little Rangeet river when the bridge collapsed suddenly.”
“The toll may go up,” the Darjeeling superintendent of police (SP), Mr Anand Kumar, said.
Though the rescue team was using search lights, the darkness was posing a problem in the operation, Mr Kumar said.
The Army's Mountain brigade at Darjeeling has sent a column of troops to the site to provide assistance following the bridge collapse near Bijanbari. In addition two medical officers, nursing officers and medical personnel have also rushed to the spot. According to the officials of the Army’s Eastern Command the bridge reportedly was overcrowded and could not bear the weight of the people who were going to attend a cultural programme.

North Bengal development minister Mr Gautam Deb, who was at the spot, said the rescue operation was on in full swing. In Kolkata, chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee said she would visit the spot of the tragedy tomorrow.
10 died and several injured in Bijanbari
KalimNews, Kalimpong, 22 October: During an accident atleast 10 people died and more than 60 injured when a suspension bridge in Bijanbari of Darjeeling collapsed. According to a report received huge number of people including children had gathered for a fair and cultural programme organised by GJM in Bijanbari. Some thousand people had gathered there to witness the singers Uday & Manila Sotang. The bridge was overcrowded with people crossing the river to witness the programme when the GI steel wire snapped and the bridge collapsed and all fell in the river little Rangit and river bed. It is feared that the number of dead may rise.
Samay live, 22 Oct 2011 : At least ten people were killed and 60 others injured when a bridge collapsed in Bijonbari area of West Bengal's Darjeeling district on Saturday evening, according to an official.
Darjeeling District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan said ten persons were killed and between 50 to 60 others injured in the mishap.
The bridge, which had been weakened by the September 18 earthquake, gave way when a large number of people gathered on it for a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha meeting.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said ambulances were being rushed to the spot and the North Bengal Medical College near Siliguri instructed to arrange treatment of the injured.
"The Darjeelling district administration and GJM will collectively deal with the situation," she said.
Banerjee said she had asked North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb and Trinamool Congress MLA from Siliguri Rudranath Bhattacharya to rush to the spot.
Banerjee, who returned from Delhi after the NDC meeting, said she, along with Railway Minster Dinesh Trivedi and Union Minister of State for Health Sudip Bandopadhyay, would leave for the spot cancelling all engagements during Kali puja.
"I have talked to GJM President Bimal Gurung about the mishap which is very shocking," Banerjee said, adding the state government would stand by GJM during the "crisis".
The army was sending a 40-member team of the Mountain Brigade, Darjeeling, along with a medical team, at the request of the district magistrate, an army spokesman said.
The team is carrying equipment for rescue while the medical team was being led by two medical officers, he said.
The spokesman said there were 10 casualties while between 50 to 60 others were injured when the footbridge over the river Little Rangit collapsed.

IANS, DARJEELING: Ten people were killed and at least 60 injured in a bridge collapse in Bijonbari area of West Bengal's Darjeeling district on Saturday evening, according to an official.
The Border Roads Organisation-built wooden bridge gave way on Saturday evening when more than 100 people stood on it to listen to speeches of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders who were holding a meeting in the area, district magistrate Soumitra Mohan said.
"It was an old bridge. It was also damaged in the recent earthquake," said GJM spokesperson and MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said a number of people were injured, many seriously, when the wooden bridge gave way.
Chhetri claimed the casualty figures could go up to 50 or even 60.
North Bengal development minister Goutam Deb has already left for the spot on instruction from chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
PTI:Several persons were injured when an old wooden footbridge collapsed at Bijanbari, 30 km from here, in Darjeeling district on Saturday evening.
Several persons were injured when an old wooden footbridge collapsed at Bijanbari, 30 km from here, in Darjeeling district on Saturday evening.
State Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan said several persons were injured in the collapse of the bridge.
The bridge at Sombustee locality gave way as a large number of people were crossing to attend a cultural programme, police said.
Disaster management personnel rushed to the site, Mr. Khan said.
The bridge had developed cracks during the earthquake on September 18.

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज:बिजनबारीको झोलुङ्गे पुल चुडीएर भत्किन्दा ८ जनाको घट्ना स्थलमानै मृत्यु भएको छ भने ५० भन्दा अधिक घाइते भएका छन् । घटना स्थलमा गोजमुमो प्रमूख बिमल गुरूङ पुगेका छन् भने भोलि ममता ब्यानर्जी आउने सम्भावना रहेको छ। उक्त पुल सन् १९७२ मा निर्माण भएको थियो। पुल चुडीएको कारण पारी पट्टीको ठाउँहरु संग सम्पर्क बिच्छिन्न बनेको छ। आज गोजमुमोको सांसकृतिक कार्यक्रमको अन्तिम दिन रहेको थियो । कार्य क्रममा उदय, मनिला सोताङले आफनो प्रतुति गर्ने भइको थियो । यसको साथै रोधीघरको कार्यक्रम पनि हुने भएको थियो । कार्यक्रमा शुरु हुन अघि पुल चुडीएर मानिसहरुको मृत्यु भएको छ।

Governor In Kalimpong 
Governor of West Bengal M.K.Narayanan visited and inspected sites of damages of caused by earthquake of 18th September.   He visited the two schools Kalimpong Girls High School and Dr. Graham's Homes and relief camp at Champamaya Primary School in Bhalukhope.
Trekker injured
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok,22 October :Sheelagh Ailene Rodgers, 59 years from Scotland while trekking in Singalila Range at height of 4000 meters broke her leg due to slip on a wet trail in a remote place called Ghopte nearly 9 kms away from Chewabhangyang in West Sikkim. Sheelagh was rescued by the team of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) and support team of Sikkim Holidays a local trekking agency which had been conducting the trekking along with Sheelagh’s friend Allis, Ann, Moira (Scotland) and Carol from US. Sheelagh was airlifted by Pawan Hans Helicopter which is run by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation Ltd on the request of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) on due payment.
Trekking team had left Uttarey in West Sikkim to trek in the Singalila on 18th October 2011 with full trekking equipments and other logistical support. Sheelagh while crossing the wet trail slipped off and tumbled over the snow and broke her two vertical bones of the legs on 20th October around 1pm.
Support team was pressed in by the President of TAAS Mr.Lukendra Rasaily for the rescue mission with the help of local people of the area. Mr.Lalhang Subba lead the rescue team of 12 persons to Ghopte. Chopper could not be sent immediately due to bad weather condition prevailing at that time.
Rescue team lead by Mr.Lallhang Subba carried injured Sheelagh for a period of almost two days through an extremely hard terrain in a makeshift stretcher and brought her to Chewabhangyang. Incessant rain, snow storm and high velocity cold wind did not deter the determination of Lallhang and group to save her life. One night was spent in Yak Herders’ Hut along the way.
Secretary Tourism Mrs.Nim Yethenpa was apprised of the situation and TAAS requested for Chopper airlift from Chewabhangyang at an altitude of 10,147 feet.
Sheelagh was carefully brought to Sikkim Armed Force Camp in Chewabhangyang where in the night stay had been organized by the force.
On 22nd October 2011, Pawan Hans Helicopter run by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation airlifted the injured to Gangtok in a 70 minutes mission at a cost of Rs.84,000. Sheelagh was immediately taken to Sikkim Manipal Hospital by TAAS Rescue Team, later she was transferred to STNM Hospital. At present she is undergoing treatment in the hospital.
“Lallhang and team was extremely helpful and when I saw the chopper hovering over the camp, I felt very happy and safe”. Said Sheelagh.

1 comment:

  1. Alliss, Ann, Moira and CarolOctober 31, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Sikkim Holidays guide, Sanjeev, and his team of porters and yak men also deserve a huge amount of credit as they constructed the stretcher and carried the injured trekker for hours until they met up with Lalang's team. A tremendous effort by these local heroes! With thanks...