An annual study tour ended in a tragedy after a bus carrying school students met with an accident at Longsai Part-3 (Tubung) under Khoupum Police Station in Noney district on Wednesday leaving seven dead, including five students a teacher and a warden. Around 35 are said to be injured.
The tragic incident, which occurred around 11.10 am, also claimed the lives of a teacher and a warden.
The deceased persons have been identified as Laishram Roma, 17, daughter of L Ramchandra from Yairipok Sifai Leikai; Thangjam Chingkheilembi, 17, daughter of Th Binoy from Yairipok Top; School warden Yumnam Mitkhubi, 42, wife of Y Premjit from Yairipok Top; Khonthoujam Menaliya, 17, daughter of K Sanatomba from Khonthoujam Poirou Khonjin Yairipok; Sanasam Kishan (teacher), 32, son of S khomei from Thoubal Sabaltongbi; Moirangthem Dolly, 18, daughter of M Naoba Singh from Yairipok Top and Phanjoubam Rita, 17, daughter of Loken from Andro Khunou Korongthel.
Many others who have been grievously injured are undergoing treatment at Raj Medicity and RIMS.
The school bus (MN01/2119) was carrying students and staff of Yairipok Thambalnu Higher Secondary School and headed to Khoupum for an annual excursion.
While approaching Longsai Part III, the steering wheel of the bus reportedly failed, causing it to slide down and fall from a height of around 35 feet. The bus turned upside down when it hit the ground.
Locals of Longsai village, who came to the rescue said, five students died on the spot. Later, two more succumbed to their injuries at Bishnupur district hospital bringing the total death toll to seven.
The injured were immediately evacuated to Bishnupur district hospital which is about 25 km from the crash site. Later, they were referred to hospitals in Imphal.
Sources said that the death toll may rise for as many as another five students are said to be in critical condition.
It is learnt that as many as 92 persons, including staff and students were going for the excursion on three different buses. The ill-fated bus was carrying 37 passengers, including three teachers.
Among the injured, 11 persons have been admitted to RIMS while 22 at Rajmedicity.
A police force led by IGP Zone-1 Themthing, SP Imphal West Shivakanta arrived at the site for inspection. YAS Minister K Govidas, Education Minister Th Bashanta and Health minister S Ranjan also arrived to take stock of the situation.
Leaders of AMSU, DESAM, SUK, AIMS, KSA, MSA arrived at the site and extended their sincere condolences to the bereaved families and friends.
Government bans school excursions
Meanwhile, following the tragic incident, the state government has banned school excursions till January 10, 2023.
A release by L Nandakumar Singh, Director of Education(S) stated that following the report of the tragic incident of the accident due to morning fog/mist of the winter, it has directed all Principals/Headmasters/Headmistresses of all Government/Government Aided/Private Unaided Schools in the state not to organise/conduct school excursions till 10.01.2023, with immediate effect, to avoid any untoward incidents.