Two injured; MEA in touch with authorities in China

Three Indian women who were travelling on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar in Tibet were killed on Wednesday when the vehicle carrying them, part of a convoy transporting more than 40 travellers, met with an accident near a town close to the mountain.

Indian officials said initial reports coming out of the Tibetan town of Darchen, where the accident is reported to have taken place, suggested the vehicle may have lost control and fallen into a ditch off the narrow mountain road. Indian Embassy officials identified the three women pilgrims as Uma Mittal (50), Neelam Gupta (51) and Pankhuri Gupta (27).

Two injured

Two of their family members, who were also travelling in the same car, according to officials, sustained injuries and are currently receiving treatment at the Ali People’s Hospital, in the town of Ali, or Shiquanhe, also in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). They were identified as Praveen Kumar Mittal (53) and Atul Gupta (52). The condition of the driver was not known.

According to officials, the vehicle was part of a convoy organised by a private tour operator, carrying 43 pilgrims. The accident took place at 5 p.m. at Darchen, a small Tibetan village that has become an important stop for Kailash-Manasarovar pilgrims, located in the shadow of Mount Kailash. Pilgrims usually spend a night in Darchen half-way through the usually two week-long journey, and begin their trek of Mount Kailash from the Tibetan town.

The Indian Embassy on Thursday dispatched its Deputy Defence Attache to Lhasa, the regional capital of TAR, to help coordinate with local authorities. After post-mortems, the bodies will be flown to Kathmandu. Another official from the Indian Embassy in Beijing will also fly out to TAR on Friday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement that it was “in close contact with the authorities in China for providing all necessary assistance to the injured and to the next-of-kin of the deceased in this tragic incident.”