Six Indian pilgrims were among seven people killed when a bus carrying them plunged into a river in Nepal’s Bara district early Thursday morning.

The accident occurred around 2 am when the bus veered off a mountain highway and fell around 50 meters down a riverbank near Churiamai Temple in Simara Sub-Metropolitan City, about 120 km south of Kathmandu.

According to police, the bus was carrying 27 people, including two drivers and a helper, from Rajasthan state in India to Janakpur when it overturned on the winding road. Seven people were killed – six Indian pilgrims and one Nepali citizen. The remaining passengers sustained injuries and were admitted to hospitals in Hetauda.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Pradeep Bahadur Chhetri, who is investigating the accident, told reporters that the victims’ families have been informed. Police have detained the driver, Jilami Khan, and his assistants for questioning.

Road accidents are common in Nepal owing to poor infrastructure, narrow and winding roads, and lax safety standards. Just a day earlier, eight people were killed when a bus veered off a highway and plunged into the Trishuli River in the neighboring Bagmati province.

Thursday’s accident involving Indian pilgrims highlights the risks hundreds of devotees undertake during visits to Hindu and Buddhist holy sites in the Himalayan nation each year. Police said they are investigating the cause of the pre-dawn crash.

Arrangements are being made to send the bodies of the 6 Indian pilgrims killed in the accident back to Rajasthan.

According to police, those seriously injured have been admitted to the Bharatpur Medical College, while those with minor injuries are being treated at nearby hospitals. The bodies have been sent to the Makwanpur District Hospital for post-mortems.

The Indian Embassy in Birganj has been informed about the accident, and arrangements are underway to transport the bodies to Rajasthan.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police said the deceased included 67-year-old Bahadur Singh, 60-year-old Satyawati, 70-year-old Rajendra Chaturvedi, 65-year-old Shrikant Chaturvedi, 67-year-old Vaijanti Devi, 65-year-old Miradevi from Rajasthan, and 41-year-old Vijay Lal Pandit from Nepal’s Mahottari district.

Among the injured Indian nationals from Rajasthan are 48-year-old Ghanashyam Chaturvedi, 53-year-old Maya Devi, 50-year-old Tarawati Devi, 15-year-old Kritika Chaturvedi, 48-year-old Shyam Lal Mali, 47-year-old Harwari Mali, 70-year-old Chauthi Devi, and 35-year-old Anil Kumar, who are admitted in Hetauda Hospital near the accident site.

Meanwhile, 72-year-old Sureshchandra Chakrabarty, 63-year-old Dharam Singh, 60-year-old Indu Dhakad, 16-year-old Garvida Chaturvedi, 54-year-old Ramkumar Chaturvedi and 73-year-old Ram Prasad have been hospitalized in Bharatpur Medical College.

The additional details provide further information on the identities and ages of the deceased pilgrims and those injured in the tragic accident. Efforts are underway to repatriate the bodies of the 6 Indian nationals killed to their home state of Rajasthan.

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