An Army Vehicle, reportedly a ferrying bus met an accident at Zema-3, near Lachung in North Sikkim. 16 Army men lost their lives while 4 are critical and have been airlifted to Bagdogra, informed ASP Arun Thatal, SDPO, Chungthang.
Speaking to Sikkim Chronicle ASP Thatal gave stock of the situation, “As of record 20 were in the ferrying bus, of which 16 army men are confirmed dead, and 4 have been airlifted via chopper to Bagdogra for treatment but they are very critical,” he said.
“The 16 dead bodies have all been recovered at aroun 2:00 PM and have been sent to Chatten, at the Army Unit Hospital there, where the concerned SHO, Lachen is preparing an inquest report.” He added.
Thatal further informed that Mangan District Hospital has been desiganted for further autopsies, and after post-mortem the bodies will be handed over to their respective concerned army units.
The Eastern High Command acknowledged this tragedy and released a statement saying:
“In a tragic road accident, involving an Army Truck on 23 Dec 22 at Zema, North Sikkim, sixteen Bravehearts of the Indian Army lost their lives.
The ill-fated truck was part of a three-vehicle convoy that had moved from Chatten at 7.30AM towards Thangu. Enroute at Zema, at about 8.15 AM while negotiating a sharp turn, the vehicle skidded and fell into the steep slope on the side. Rescue mission was launched immediately, and four injured soldiers have been air evacuated.
Unfortunately, three Junior Commissioned Officers and 13 soldiers did not survive the accident. The bodies are being recovered.
GOC-in-C Eastern Comd and All Ranks express grief at the sad loss of lives and stands with the bereaved families, at this hour of loss.”