The tragic Takti Bus Accident that has led to the death of 6 monks of the Kanglung Shedra on 12 November could have been avoided if the 49-year-old bus driver had heeded the requests by the monks in the bus to slow down.
Before Takti, the bus nearly had an accident at Bunakha (Chukha) and the monks told the driver to slow down.
However, the driver replied that it was easy for them to say as he had to drop them to Phuentsholing and then head back to Thimphu again, and he continued to speed and drive recklessly.
The monks were coming from the Kuenkhyen Kabum Jaklung Transmission at Kuensel Phodrang in Thimphu conducted by the Je Khenpo.
Then when the Bus reached the area it was still speeding when it encountered a sharp right turn where the bus driver lost control and bus plunged around 100 meters down a gorge killing 6 of the monks and injuring others.
The area itself is prone to many vehicular accidents in the past due to the sharp right turn.
However, a RBP official said that with the widening of the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway if the vehicles are not speeding or driving recklessly then there should not be high accident rates there.
The accident spot is around 2 km after the Dantak canteen while heading towards Phuentsholing.
On the first day yesterday, rescuers could rescue the 18 monks who were alive and retrieve 3 bodies. However, the three other bodies could not be located yesterday as they were underwater, trapped in between rocks and under the bus.
Today the rescuers located and took out the three remaining bodies.
Around 6 to 7 of the monks sustained serious injuries like broken bones etc. and are undergoing treatment while others also sustained other types of injuries. Some were sent to JDWNRH while other are being treated at Tsimalakha and other nearby hospitals.
The monks in the bus were all of a young age mostly in their 20s.
The RBP will conduct a detailed investigation, collect evidences and may accordingly charge the driver for speeding and reckless driving that led to the death of 6 monks and the injuries of others.
The driver, who had broken a hip, was sent to Thimphu where in addition to treatment a drug test was conducted.
There was some confusion when he tested positive for morphine drug and rumors spread in informal circles in Thimphu that the driver was on drugs, but later health officials in the field informed the RBP that they had given the morphine to ease his pain of the broken hip.
After the accident yesterday, the Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering arrived at the spot and also met with the injured monks getting treatment.
The Je Khenpo who was on his way to Samtse today stopped at the site and offered prayers for the deceased.
Initial reports indicate that the bus belonged to the Shedra, and so a question here also would be on who instructed the driver to drop the monks and come back on the same day due to which the driver was speeding.
The other question would also be on if something needs to be done with the sharp road bend given the high rate of accidents and lives lost in the same place.