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Melbourne Woman Killed In Nepal Bus Crash

candle914Marina Muchnik’s friends gathered in Melbourne on Wednesday night to remember an ambitious young woman with an infectious smile who spent her last days helping to feed underprivileged children in Nepal.

Ms Muchnik, 32, died after a mini-bus she was travelling in plunged about 200 metres off a highway in Nepal on Monday evening (local time).

Beth Rivkah Ladies College in St Kilda East paid tribute to Ms Muchnik, a former student, in a statement that expressed the school community’s shock and sadness at her untimely death.

Ms Muchnik and her family moved to Melbourne from the Ukraine when she was 13 years old and on Wednesday night her former classmates gathered to remember her.

“They recall her as ‘the life of the party’, always making others laugh with her infectious, happy nature,” Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, principal of Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges said.

“She was an ambitious girl with profound empathy who cared for the poor and unfortunate – people and animals.”

Ms Muchnik was said to have lived an “active and fruitful” life and on her Facebook page posted hours before her death she shared her thoughts on travelling.

“We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own,” she posted on Monday.

Nepalese media have reported that Ms Muchnik was one of two killed when the bus bound for Kathmandu skidded off the road and plunged into the Trishuli River about 100 kilometres west of Kathmandu. Nine others were injured, including two who are in a critical condition in hospital.

Authorities are attempting to recover 13 other people who are still missing two days after the accident.

Local media have reported the bus may have been speeding along slippery roads when it plunged about 200 metres off the Prithvi Highway.

Rabbi Smukler said Ms Muchnik’s family’s shock and trauma had been exacerbated because she had been so far from home when she died.

He praised the efforts of Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, a Chabad rabbi based in Kathmandu, who raced to the accident scene in a helicopter to ensure that Ms Muchnik’s body was not cremated. Cremation is forbidden under Jewish religious law that stipulates a body be buried immediately after death.

Ms Muchnik’s body will be sent home for a Jewish burial.

Rabbi Smukler said Ms Muchnik’s former classmates and Beth Rivkah College would be launching charitable projects to pay tribute to her memory.

“These projects will memorialise her passion, and continue her dream of assisting those who are less fortunate,” he said.

Four days before her death, Ms Muhnik had said she was missing two travelling companions already.

“Thank you so much for making this trek so enjoyable. Have a safe ride to Kathmandu. Xxxxx” she had posted.

Consular assistance is being provided to Ms Muchnik’s family.

(Source: The Age)

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