No one escaped unscathed from a horrific accident involving an overcrowded bus in Nepal on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. The bus was packed full of passengers, with many taking their chances at riding on the roof of the vehicle, and traveling along a dirt-and-gravel roadway cut into a hillside when the vehicle skidded down the hillside, leaving at least 30 people dead and another 35 with injuries. All injured parties were transported to area hospitals in neighboring towns. Their status and expected recovery is not known.
In Nepal, it is a common sight to see people on board a bus roof, as the nation is experiencing a marked shortage in fuel due to border tension and protesters blocking off gasoline supplies to the nation, leading to a transportation crisis and the need to use mass commuting to get around. However, overcrowding of buses has become a major safety concern, as such practices as roof riding can lead a vehicle to become unstable, which in turn can lead to passenger weight inadvertently overturning buses as they go around turns.
The exact cause of this crash has not been reported, but overcrowding is strongly suspected of playing a large role. The accident took place near a town called Ramche in Nepal’s Rasuwa district, located northwest of the nation’s capital of Kathmandu. The vehicle was driving along a mountain pass when, for reasons not yet clear, it plummeted more than 500 feet down the side of the foothill before coming to a stop on level ground below. Those injured in the crash were taken to medical centers in Kathmandu and Ramche for evaluation and treatment.
Many reasons are cited as being causal in the uptick in traffic accidents and fatalities in the nation of Nepal, including lack of governmental transparency with regard to traffic safety planning and poorly constructed and maintained roadways. According to data published by the World Health Organization, traffic accidents are the ninth leading cause of death in the country of Nepal. The northern parts of the country have few, if any, paved roads, making traversing the areas outside of large cities a difficult task.