Gangtok, May 22 (IANS) Three children below the age of 10 have died here after eating poisonous mushrooms in a family dinner, an official said Friday.
The tragedy struck after Sankit Lepcha, 25, had gone to her parents' home in Shipgyer, Upper Dzongu, on May 19 with her two-year-old son Norden and 18-month-old daughter Lizum.
For the dinner, the family had potatoes cooked with wild mushrooms Sankit's father Tshering Dorjee Lepcha had picked from the nearby forest.
However, three children - Norden, Lizum and Sankit's sister Dawa, 10 and brother Bhaichung, 8 - were taken ill and had to be rushed to hospital.
While Dawa, Lizum and Norden died due to excessive internal haemorrhage, Bhaichung was Friday battling for life at the ICU.
'We were in Gangtok for the swearing-in ceremony of the chief minister and his cabinet when we received the call from Dzongu that this had happened. Immediately we rushed to the hospital and arranged for their treatment. But we realised it was too late for the children,' said Chodup Lepcha of the Shipgyer panchayat who along with several people from Dzongu remained stationed at the hospital.
Tshering Dorjee Lepcha was meanwhile out of danger while his wife Sukmit Lepcha was also recovering.
Doctors said Sankit was still serious and in the ICU.
'The children are weaker and their metabolism cannot handle acute poisoning like that of a fully grown person. The vital organs of the children failed slowly and massive internal bleeding caused by liver damage killed them,' said a hospital official here.
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