The boat which capsized in Rendibi, Zhemgang on May 10, has left many children fatherless and the death toll has now climbed to nine, with the ninth body found yesterday afternoon by the police on the other side of the river bank.
The ninth body was identified as Leki Dorji, 21-year-old of Zangling village under Shingkhar gewog. He is survived by his two siblings and parents.
It was learnt that the tragic boat mishap have left behind children, some as young as just two weeks old without fathers, and a case of pregnant wife who lost her husband in the accident.
The eighth body was found day before yesterday and was cremated yesterday at the Panbang cremation ground. He was identified to be Rinchen Lethro, 26, of Langdurbi village of Bardo gewog. He is survived by his wife and two children while the youngest son is just two weeks old.
The Panbang Dungpa, Therchung Kencho, in a telephone interview said it was a very difficult task to reach at the site where the body was found and to bring it to the other side. Two rafts were deployed to get the body.
“The body was wrapped in a plastic and a sedan chair was made to carry the body till the road point. Meanwhile, the preparations for the body to be cremated have been prepared in the crematorium ground in Panbang,” the Dungpa added.
A total of 18 passengers were travelling in the boat while crossing Mangdechhu, which overturned in the middle of the river around 2pm on May 10.
However, six of them managed to escape, including the boatman. Sources say the four people that survived had clung on the boat as soon as the boat capsized and managed to swim to the bank of the river.
While three bodies were recovered the same day, about a kilometer downstream, another three bodies were found on May 11 about 10 kilometers away from the incident site.
A search team of more than 100 people which included dzongkhag, dungkhag and gewog officials, Dessups and the police were deployed to search for the missing bodies.
MP lekey Dorji said, “This is a tragedy that occurred in my constituency, a tragedy that took away 12 precious lives. We lost fewer lives during the flush-out operation in 2004. This is a sad day for Bhutan. However, I am happy to report that as soon I was informed by the people, I informed the Gyalpoi Zimpon and the PM. An immediate command was given by our benevolent Majesty the King, and home minister reached the site of the accident on behalf of the government.”
MP said, “Dzongkhag and Dungkhag administration together with other volunteers combed the river downstream for three days. The police and their counterparts in India also helped a great deal. As an earnest believer in the goodness of all human beings, I have come to realize how compassionate and humane we are and how we genuinely come together in such times. As a representative of the people, I have nothing but great respect and faith, and am very happy with the way things were handled by the government.”
The cremation was done by the State and His Majesty had personally had sent his Zimpon Wogma to console and give semso to the bereaved families.
His Majesty had sent RBG rafters to help search for the dead bodies and MP said he is grateful to His Majesty and the PM who personally came from Haa to console and grief with the people.
MP added that the government has done everything to help the people, and on behalf of the people, he thanked His Majesty the King and the PM for the speedy action.
His Majesty’s Secretariat gave an amount of Nu 10, 000 to the family members of those who died and are missing in the boat mishap.
The Zhemgang Dzongda said the accident took away many lives and there is no foul play suspected
as the boat was a common mode used to ferry people across the river. Meanwhile, the search for the three missing bodies has been suspended, but efforts are ongoing as a small group is still searching for the bodies new search areas.
Of the deceased one is Pelzang, 57 who was a farmer by occupation but was working as a part-time labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site. He is survived by a wife and five children.
Karma Dhendup 48 is a farmer by occupation and was working as labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site. He is survived by his wife and five children.
Rinchen Dorji 29 was working as labourer at the Langdurbi school renovation construction site. He is survived by nine siblings and three children. Samten 24 was a former monk.
Rinchen Tshering 38 was the relative of the construction owner, where he was working part-time. He is survived by a wife and three children. Dawa 39 was working as labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Another is Leki Dorji 21 who had qualified for Taktsi, where he would have been studying along with one of his sisters there had he survived. He has four siblings.
There are also three missing victims and they are Choidup 30 a former tshogpa of Langdurbi chiwog. He is survived by his wife and three children. The youngest daughter is six months old. He was working as labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site.
Rinchen Khandu 38 was working as labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Dorji 22 was working as labourer at the Langdurbi School renovation construction site. He is survived by his pregnant wife and a son.
Most of the deceased and missing are from Langdurbi village, Bardo gewog.