Surging river waters wash away jeep; six bodies recovered

Correspondent Shillong, Sep 22 | Publish Date: 9/23/2020 11:01:29 AM IST

Six people, including a one-and-a-half-year-old baby, went missing after a jeep they were travelling in was washed away by the surging waters of the Tinhiang River near Mawjai village in South West Khasi Hills district on Tuesday, police said.

Residents of Mawjai village said that the villagers were forced to drive right across the river after a bridge over the river had collapsed several months ago due to the strong currents in the river. 

A police official said the tragic incident occurred between 5.40 am and 6 am on Tuesday when the occupants of the vehicle were proceeding towards Nongstoin, the district headquarters of West Khasi Hills.

 “There were eight people in all and all of them are from Mawjai Village, Warsan Lyngdoh area,” district police chief Maxwell Syiem  said.

Two of the passengers -- Marshal Myrthong (40yrs) and Dapborlin Lyngdoh (25yrs) escaped from the gushing waters as they were able to swim to safety,  Syiem said. 

A rescue team from the State Disaster Response Force and Fire and Emergency Services were pressed into service to conduct the search and rescue operation. Syiem informed that the rescue team were first able to retrieve the t dead body of Ladianghun L Mawlot, while one of her teenage daughters Lapynshai L Mawlot (13) is still missing. 

Three more dead bodies, including that of a mother and her one-and-a-half old son were then later recovered from Tihiang River in remote Warsan Lyngdoh area under South West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya on Wednesday

“We have retrieved three more dead bodies including that of Ibashisha Lyngdoh (24), and her one-and-a-half- years-old son Daman Lyngdoh and one of the daughters of Ladianghun L Mawlot, Balambha L Mawlot (16), about two to three Km downstream of the river,” Maxwell Syiem, the district police chief of South West Khasi Hills, said. He said the search and rescue has been suspended for the day due to darkness.

On Tuesday, the rescue team had recovered the body of a woman whilst two managed to swim to safety.

Residents of Mawjai village said that the villagers were forced to drive right through the river after a bridge over it had collapsed several months ago due to the strong currents.

“The bridge had collapsed in June and July and people have been criss-crossing the river,” South West Khasi Hills District Magistrate, C. Kharkongor had said. 

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