Kerala is yet to come to terms with the death of two families who had gone to Nepal for a holiday. It now seems that an innocuous request for a heater lead to the massive tragedy in which 8 people, including 4 children, lost their lives.
Praveen Krishnan Nair, Saranya and three of their children Sreebhadra, Aarcha and Abhi Nair and three members of another family — Renjith Kumar TB, Indu Renjith and their son Vaishnav Renjith — who were in the same room in Nepal, died because of suspected asphyxiation.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning can only be confirmed after a blood sample analysis of the deceased persons. This is being done by a different department. So far they have drawn the blood, but the results are not yet out. The autopsy of all eight has however been completed by the forensics team,” Dr Harihar Wosti, senior pathologist at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu told TNM.
The four families that were traveling from Pokhara to take a flight back to India and had made a pit-stop at a hotel in Daman in Nepal’s Makwanpur district. On Monday night, the temperature in Daman had dipped to 2 degrees celsius.
Though they had taken four rooms, it was very cold and they asked staff at the Everest Panorama Resort for heaters.
Image by Surath Adhikari
“According to the statements, there were no heaters in the rooms initially. However, there was an 8-foot gas heater kept in the hotel’s restaurant. As the family had small children who were feeling cold as the weather was very chilly, they requested for a heater from the hotel after checking in late in the night. As per the hotel proprietor’s instructions, the hotel staff shifted the gas heater in the restaurant to the room of the deceased. This happened at 2 am,” Sushil Singh Rathore, District Police head of Makwanpur told TNM.
At 7 am on Tuesday, the staff knocked on their doors to serve their morning tea and coffee. However, there was no response from inside the room. The staff then alerted the other guests who had travelled with the deceased.
“When they managed to open the door, they found all eight of them lying unconscious. The room itself was 16x14 in size and the doors and windows were all shut with eight people inside and the eight-foot heater in the centre. The police were then alerted and the eight of them were them were airlifted in two sorties to Kathmandu between 9-10 am,” Sushil Singh Rathore confirmed.
The Nepal police have, however, not booked any persons so far for negligence. “Investigations are ongoing in the case and we have collected evidence from the rooms of the deceased,” the police officer added.