IMPHAL, July 6: At least six security personnel were killed and several others injured, some of them critically, when a huge rock boulder fell upon a bus of an Road Opening Party (ROP) convoy carrying personnel of the Manipur Rifles (MR) and India Reserve Battalion (IRB) along the National Highway 53 near K. Sinam village under Senapati district about 38 km from Imphl along the Imphal-Silchar highway.
Reports said that the incident occurred around 2:30 pm this afternoon. A security convoy comprising of 2 mini buses and 9 Maruti Gypsy were heading towards Awangkhul.
According to sources, the escort team comprising of jawans from different battalions on a routine refreshers course was moving out from Imphal this noon to escort goods laden trucks coming from outside the state.
At around 2:30 pm, the last vehicle of the convoy, a mini bus, carrying about 24 MR and IRB personnel was approaching Sinam village area when a huge boulder came pounding from the nearby hillock without any warning, said the report.
The boulder crushed the rear part of the bus extensively killing at least six personnel on board the bus instantly and injuring scores of other personnels.
At least eight personnel sustained injuries of which the condition of three personnel are said to be critical. All the injured personnel were brought to RIMS for treatment this evening around 4:30 pm.
Sources speculated that the stone boulder could have been detached due to loose soil as the area is said to be landslide prone area.
Ambeng Thangal, a jawan of the 6th IRB who was amongst the fortunate survivors who escaped with minor injuries said, “I am confused about how the incident occurred. We were heading towards Awangkhul very smoothly when all of sudden something knocked the bus with a huge bang”.
G. Thaimi another injured jawan said, “We don’t know what exactly was going on, everyone inside the bus was knocked out unconscious for a while and then we realized the moving bus has halted with a loud bang”.
The jawans who escaped with injuries have further expressed their appreciation to the 10 AR and 86 CRPF post nearby who took part in rescue operation at the site of the ill fated bus.
The injured victims were given first at a post of the Assam Rifles near the area, maintained the injured personnel.
A team of high ranking police officers including ADGP V. Zathang also visited the injured jawans at the RIMS, where they are presently admitted.
Of the six deceased the identities of only four personnel could be established while the identities of the other two could not be established till the filing of this report.
The deceased were identified as one Nasir Khan, 25, s/o Amuba of Kwakta, personnel of the 2nd MR, Th. Yaima, 54, s/o (L) Kaomacha of Samram Mamang Leikai, a havildar of the 5th IRB, A. Maradona, 26, s/o Joy of Singjamei Kshetri Leikai, a personnel of 6th IRB and Lalthanglien Simte of Churachandpur of 8 MR.
The lifeless corpses have been reportedly deposited at the RIMS morgue.
The three jawans who are said to be in critical conditions are identified as one T. Sandong Maring, 31, s/o T. Tomba of Pallel Nungourok at present staying at 1st MR battalion a jawan of 3rd IRB, he sustained serious head injury, Takhelambam Sushil, 23, s/o T. Ibopishak of Thoubal Athokpam a jawan of 3rd IRB, he injured his backbone, and HS. Ningrei, 42, s/o Vareichin of Nunghar village Ukhrul a 2nd MR jawan, he sustained injuries at his face and collar bone.
The other jawans who escaped with minor injuries are identified as one Ambeng Thangal, 37, s/o Akeng of Tumnoupokpi, a jawan of 1st IRB, S. Inao, 29, s/o Ibocouba of Waikhong, a jawan of 6th IRB, G. Thaimei, 28, s/o Lungnidai of Khoupum Thanagong village, a jawan of 3 IRB, A. James, 30, s/o (L) Mahajon of Kongba Laishram Leikai, a jawan of 6 MR and Mutum Basanta, 35, s/o Indrajit of Thoubal Ningthoukhong Leikai a Jamendar of 7 MR. All the injured victims mostly sustained injuries at their head and face.