An overcrowded van with migrant workers returning from India amidst the coronavirus lockdown crashed into a parked truck in southern Nepal, killing at least 12 people and injuring 21, officials said on Monday.
The accident took place in a dense forest area in Banke district on Sunday when the van collided with a truck that was parked at the roadside. The van was carrying nearly over 30 migrant workers who were returning from India to their home district in Salyan via Nepalgunj, the District Police Office was quoted as saying by Myrepublica.
The van hit the parked truck on the road killing 12 passengers, including its driver, and injuring 21, it said.
Eleven people died on the spot, while one died during treatment at the Nepalgunj-based Bheri Hospital. Those killed in the incident were aged between 17 and 52.
A team of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Traffic Police and Banke Salyani Samaj rescued the injured and brought them to the hospital at around 2:00 am, the Himalayan Times reported.
Four of the injured are in critical condition, the Bheri Hospital was quoted as saying by the report.
According to the police, the van was overcrowded. Further the driver was drunk and was speeding.
Meanwhile, the swabs of those killed and injured have been collected to detect if they have been infected by the coronavirus.
Hundreds of Nepalese, mostly migrant workers, are stranded along Nepal''s border with India due to the COVID-19 lockdown in both the countries.
The workers, mostly from western Nepal, were employed in various sectors across India and were trying to return home. As the Indian government imposed nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, they have been left stranded along the border.
In April, Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed to enhance cooperation to further intensify the fight against the coronavirus and underlined the need of taking care of the citizens left stranded in each other''s country due to the lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Nepal has reported 1,572 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths.