Friday, May 18, 2007

OLD TREE CRASH DOWN ON COMMUTERS; FOUR INJURED

Decayed tree was a cause for concern for Pani House residents

GANGTOK, May 17: Four persons were injured when an old, decayed tree trunk came crashing down at Pani House here today.

The freak accident occurred at a busy stretch of the National Highway 31A near the Shiva Temple at Pani House. Around 7:45 in the morning, residents of the area heard a loud, crashing sound. An old, dried-up tree,the trunk of which stood along the hill side of the road on the Nam Nang Gurung Goan area, suddenly broke from its base and crashed across the Highway. A Maruti Alto local taxi, plying to Ranipool, came directly under its impact and was badly crushed. There were only two persons in the taxi (SK04/3455) -the driver and a co-passenger-and both sustained inquires. Upon the impact, the taxi skidded about 10 meters before coming to a halt. The driver’s side of the taxi bore most of the brunt.

The top of the tree trunk fell across the road and landed in front of a grocery shop. Two persons standing near the shop were seriously injured by the falling tree. Luckily, traffic Police were on duty near the spot and help arrived on time. All four were quickly evacuated and rushed to the STNM Hospital here.

The injured have been identified as Nanu Sharma (22), the driver of the ill-fated taxi, who is a resident of Middle Sichey, IC Subedi (31) residence of Sichey and a passenger in the taxi and Jai Baru Tamang (55) and Surendra Prasad (35), both the residence of Pani House.

While IC Subedi and Surendra Prasad have sustained minor injuries and release from hospital after treatment, the driver, Nanu Sharma and Jai Baru Tamang have been admitted to the Hospital. Jai Baru Tamang, the by-stander has sustained major fractures and is in a serious condition at the orthopedic ward, Hospital sources have revealed.

The taxi belonged to one Robin Gurung, a resident of 6th Mile Tadong.

The residents of the area had been worried about the offending tree for a while now and had informed the authorities about the precariously perched dried up tree trunk that could crack and fall anytime. It’s a minor miracle of sorts as there were fewer casualties. The accident occurred during the morning rush hour when most of the school children from the area are waiting at the stoppage for their buses and pick-up vehicles. In fact, the accident occurred minutes after a school bus had picked up children right from the same spot. The land on the hill side where the tree stood belongs to the forest department and they had been informed of the dangers the tress poised by the traffic Police, it is learnt.