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CHANNA UPULI TEAM IN A FATAL CAR ACCIDENT IN LOS ANGELES ; SHOW SCHEDULED TODAY IS CANCELLED
Photo
Decesed Asantha Perera(left) Channa and Upuli with some friends in Disneyland days before the accident
photos by: Mangala Jayakody
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

July 12.09.45 AM:One died and many others received injuries when the well known Sri Lankan dancing troupe of Channa and Upuli who were visiting Los Angeles were involved in an accident, family friends said.

Asantha Perera, a Pasadena, California resident and brother in law of the leading dancer, Channa died and many other Sri Lankan drummers and dancers received injuries when their car collided with a speeding vehicle driven by a youngster in San Fernando Valley , a suburb of Los Angeles. The accident occurred at the intersection of Sepulveda and Sherman Way in Van Nuys.

The vehicle in which Channa and Upuli were traveling was not involved in the accident and they were unharmed , family friends said.

Due to the bereavement and injuries of the troupe a show scheduled to be held at Mount St. Mary’s College 10, Chester Place, Los Angeles 90007, July 12 was immediately cancelled, the show organizers announced. The troupe would leave Los Angeles without holding any show.

The troupe of Channa and Upuli were visiting United States to perform a show for a Lions International Convention in Colorado. Their Los Angeles show was arranged later.

The troupe was returning to their Pasadena accomodation after they were feted at a tea party by Kumar Ipalawatte at his Ceylon Tea Center in San Fernando Valley. The car carrying male drummers and dancers just got out of the Tea Center premises and took a left turn, followed by other cars of the troupe when it was struck by a speeding vehicle driven by a youngster, eyewitnesses said. Asantha Perera was operated on by neurosurgeons for brain damage during many hours at the Northridge Hospital but he succumbed to his injuries. Channa and Upuli were in a second car that followed the first one and was not involved in the accident. The car carrying female dancers and drummers was behind those cars and was also not involved in the accident.

Channa, an eyewitness to the tragedy, said the Los Angeles Police Department had to cut open the vehicle to take out the body of his brother in law, Asantha Perera from the wreckage of the car. He said only the car that carried the male drummers and dancers met with the accident. Five of them received OPD treatment for minor injuries like concussions, abrasions and hairline fractures at the Northridge Hospital, Channa said.

Asantha Perera(40) the deceased , was married to Geetha Perera , the sister of the main dancer, Channa .Beside his wife he leaves behind his daughter, Dilhani.

(12/07/03 go2lanka.com)