Three persons were killed as a truck loaded with bitumen coming from Beltola in Guwahati on its way to Mizoram via Meghalaya met with an accident in East Jaintia Hills district.
The bitumen-laden truck bearing registration No. NL-02-N-4222 capsized and turned turtle at Lumshnong near Forest IB in the afternoon on Friday, police said.
The accident exposed illegal travel of four persons, who boarded the truck in East Jaintia Hills district.
It has questioned how a truck ferrying bitumen was allowed to ply during the ongoing lockdown, especially when inter-state movement of vehicles, except those which carry essential commodities, has been sealed.
“These 4 persons were hiding between the loaded bitumen drums on the backside to avoid detection,” East Jaintia Hills district police said.
Police said during the inquiry it was found that only two occupants were in the truck including the driver and helper when the truck entered Meghalaya.
But 4 persons boarded the truck illegally somewhere between Deinchynrum and Byndihati in East Jaintia Hills district.
Police said two of them died on the spot while the third person, who was immediately rescued by Lumshnong Police, later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
The bodies were handed over to the family members after post-mortem.
The fourth person could be rescued alive after a 6-hour-long rescue operation which was extremely tough because of heavy rain and thunderstorm almost for the day.
The injured has been referred to Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH) for treatment.
The driver and helper have been arrested, and a case has been registered against them while the investigation is going on, said police.
The East Jaintia Hills police thanked the members of the civil society, Waheh Shnong and cement plants, especially Star Cement & Dalmia Cement for their help in the rescue operation by providing manpower, equipment as well as an ambulance.