Eight Indians found dead in Nepal hotel
The eight Kerala residents — two couples and their children — slept in one room at a hotel in Daman, a popular tourist spot about 55km from capital Kathmandu.Updated: Jan 22, 2020 06:13 IST
Eight Indian tourists died after falling unconscious at a mountain resort in Nepal in what is suspected to be suffocation by carbon monoxide emanating from a gas heater inside their poorly ventilated room, officials said on Tuesday.
The eight Kerala residents — two couples and their children — slept in one room at a hotel in Daman, a popular tourist spot about 55km from capital Kathmandu.
“They were found unconscious this [Tuesday] morning and airlifted to Kathmandu, but died during treatment,” police spokesperson Shailesh Thapa Chettri told news agency AFP.
The tourists, who were returning to India and were part of a 15-member group, used a gas heater to keep their room warm, a district official said. The area is at an altitude of nearly 2500 metres above sea level, according to a report on The News Minute website.
“We suspect they died of suffocation, but autopsy reports will confirm the cause,” Chettri said.
The group reportedly turned on the gas heater inside the room while the windows and doors were closed. The police suspected that they might have passed out due to lack of ventilation, according to some reports in the Nepali
media. “Deeply distressed by the tragic news of the passing away of eight Indian tourists in Nepal,” external affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed “deep grief” over the deaths, a release from his office said. The bodies are expected to be brought to the state on Wednesday after autopsy, the statement added.
V Muraleedharan, the minister of state for external affairs, said officials in Kathmandu’s Indian Embassy were taking steps to bring the bodies back as early as possible. A doctor at the embassy went to the hospital where the bodies were kept to examine the reasons for the deaths, he said.
The 15-member group of tourists was travelling from Pokhara to take a flight back home and stayed at Everest Panorama Resort in Daman in Makawanpur district on Monday night.
Although they booked a total of four rooms, eight of them stayed in one room while the remaining stayed in another room, The Himalayan Times quoted the manager of the resort as saying. All windows and the door of the room were bolted from inside, the manager, Shiva KC, said, according to the daily.
Praveen Krishnan Nair, a 39-year-old Thiruvananthapuram resident who was working in Dubai; his 34-year-old wife, Saranya, who was doing a master’s degree in Kochi; and their three children, Sreebhadra (9), Aarcha (8) and Abhi Nair (7), died in the incident, according to The News Minute.
Nair’s friend Renjith Kumar TB, a 39-year-old from Kozhikode; his wife, Indu Renjith, 34; and their son Vaishnav Renjith (2) were in the same room and died, the website said, citing a press release by the police in Nepal. The couple had another son, who was sleeping in a different room, it reported.
Nair returned to India from Dubai on leave two weeks ago, said K Balachandran, one of his uncles, over phone from the family’s ancestral home in Chengottukonam on Thiruvananthapuram’s outskirts. “Five men, all belonging to the 1995 batch of an engineering college in Thiruvananthapuram, had planned the [Nepal] tour with their family members. They left Kochi last Saturday,” he said.
The eight tourists were found unconscious inside their room when other members of the group went to check on them around 7.30-8am. The police were informed, and the tourists were airlifted to the Hospital for Advanced Medicine and Surgery (HAMS) in Kathmandu, where they were declared dead.
A doctor at the hospital said the four adults and four children showed no signs of life when they arrived at the facility, according to news agency AP.
Running a gas heater in a closed room with no ventilation can lead to the build-up of carbon monoxide, which is colourless, tasteless and odourless. Poisoning occurs when its levels increase in the bloodstream, with oxygen in red blood cells getting replaced with carbon monoxide. It could be dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated as there could be irreversible brain damage or even death.
“There’s always the risk of carbon monoxide build-up when a gas heater is running in a poorly ventilated space. When carbon monoxide levels go alarmingly up in blood, its oxygen carrying capacity goes down, and affects the vital organs. The brain being the most sensitive organ collapses due to lack of oxygen, which is why people get drowsy and don’t realise what’s happening,” said Atol Gogia, senior consultant, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi.