16 people died when a truck collided head-on with a car on NH-34 at Kaluadighi near Malda twon, while two others were killed when their van rammed into a stationary truck at Gajol in the district.

In all, 18 persons were killed in two separate accidents in the State’s Malda district on the National Highway 34 on Tuesday.

While sixteen persons, including a child, died at Kaluadighi area of the district when a truck hit a vehicle carrying people who were returning from a marriage party, two others were killed in another collision of vehicles.

Superintendent of district police Kalyan Mukherjee told journalists that while 13 people died on the spot, three others succumbed to injuries after being taken to Malda Medical College and Hospital. The group was returning to the State’s Uttar Dinajpur District. The accident occurred at 7.30 a.m.

Though the cleaner of the truck fled from the spot, the driver has been arrested, police said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the accident as “sad” and announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased.

She asked State’s Tourism Minister Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, who represents the State’s Malda district, to return to the district and ensure that the families of the dead do not face any difficulties in getting the bodies from the police after post-mortem.

The other accident occurred in the Gazole area of the district in which two persons died when a vegetable laden van hit a truck.

The movement of vehicles on NH-34 was disrupted for a couple hours but later resumed.