Millennium Post

Nepal shuts resort where 8 Indians died

Kathmandu: Nepal has suspended the licence of a mountain resort for three months after a probe found security lapses at the hotel for the incident that led to the death of eight Indians, including four minors, due to possible asphyxiation, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Tragedy struck a group of 15 tourists from Kerala when eight of them died on January 21 due to possible asphyxiation after they fell unconscious probably due to a gas leak from a heater in their room at a resort in Makwanpur district.

After a five member probe committee formed by Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to investigate the tragedy, submitted it's report, the ministry decided to suspend the transaction of the resort for three months, said Surendra Thapa, director at the Department of Tourism, who headed the five member probe committee.

Although the probe committee also found some fault on the part of the Indian visitors, security lapse at the resort was also found to be one of the reasons behind the incident, Thapa said.

The resort management has been asked to carry out renovation works and take safety measures after conducting initial environment examination and environment impact assessment before reopening it, he said.

"We have asked the resort to ensure that proper safety measures are in place before reopening the property," he pointed out.

Eight Indian tourists, including four children, belonging to the two families stayed in a single room burning a big gas heater without opening any ventilation. All eight fell unconscious next morning when the hotel boy opened the door to serve breakfast.

The temperature was minus 4 degree Celsius in the hill station at that night but the resort also had electric blanket facility. However, the guests did not find the heating arrangement sufficient and asked for the room heater to keep them warm. As the big gas heater at the restaurant was not meant for the room and it could have been risky, if taken to the room. This was already informed to the guests by the junior staff of the resort. However, after mid-night, the Indian tourists took the gas heater from the restaurant where they had dinner to their room despite objection by the resort staff. The incident might have occurred due to the excess emission of carbon dioxide as no ventilation was open at that time, the report said.

The probe committee had pointed out that there was poor security management and managerial weakness on the part of the resort, which led to the sad incident, it said.

The tourists were airlifted to HAMS hospital here where they were pronounced dead on arrival.

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