A landslide in Kerauja area in northern Gorkha on Thursday morning killed five people including two Spanish tourists and severely injured as many. Nepalis who lost lives in the incident are Dorje Lama, 35, Chhiri Shrepa, 30 and Ranjana Basnet, 25. Lama and Sherpa were trekking guides while Basnet was a staff at Community Action Nepal (CAN), a tourism-related organization. Five people who were severely injured and four others who received minor injuries are being treated at Vayodha Hospital of Kathmandu.
According to reports, a team of 25 tourists were heading for the Manaslu region while a few CAN staffers were hitting the trekking trail toward Arughat. The team of tourists and the CAN employees had just met along the way when they were suddenly hit by the landslide at around 8 am. “Among the deceased, Basnet was washed off to Budigandaki river instantly,” police quoted an eyewitness as saying.
The bodies of three of the deceased have yet to be discovered. Among the two, one Spanish national had breathed his last at Vayodha Hospital in the course of treatment. “Due to incessant rain throughout the night, it was challenging to retrieve the bodies,” SP Janakraj Pandey, the chief at the District Police Office, Gorkha, said. “Our team had reached the site without wasting time. However, constant landslip posed hindrance to our work,” he added.
Among the seriously injured, three are foreigners, and two are CAN Nepal staffers Preeti Magar and Chet Kumari. The injured were carried to Vayodha Hospital by a Fishtail Air helicopter at 1 pm. The landslide incident site is around 35 kilometers from Gorkha district headquarters. Due to the remoteness of the site and the lack of communication facilities, police received information about the incident only after four hours. Pandey said that even the police walkie-talkie was not receiving signals. “The incident site is three hours trek from the headquarters. In addition, our communication set was not working,” he said.
Pandey said that the police are working to dig out bodies and a team of Area Police has also joined them. The rest of the tourists are safe, he informed.
Meanwhile, Narayan Bhatta, the chief district officer of Gorkha stated that tourists have been warned not to use the trekking route until it is declared safe. “Information has been circulated through police posts and units. Currently, it is not safe to take the route,” Bhatta said.