Himachal Pradesh landslide: Death toll increases to 46, rescue operations to resume on Monday
Rescue operations were suspended late Sunday evening as there were apprehensions of more landslides. Photograph: (ANI)
At least 46 people have been killed and several injured after a massive landslide swept two buses off a hillside into a deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district early Sunday.
Forty-six bodies have been recovered, and of these 23 have been identified, an official told PTI.
Rescue operations were suspended late Sunday evening as there were apprehensions of more landslides, the official said.
The rescue work will resume tomorrow.
Officials said the toll may rise as more than 50 people were travelling in the two buses hit by the landslide which took place at Kotpuri near Padhar on the Mandi-Pathankot national highway.
The massive landslide, which covered an area of more than 250 metres, may have swept away some other vehicles also and damaged some houses, an official said.
According to ANI, National Highway 21 from Mandi to Aut has been closed for traffic due to landslide threat.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the army and the police were deployed at the spot on Sunday. Local people are also helping in rescue efforts.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who visited the disaster site, said the rescue operation would continue till the last body was recovered.
The chief minister said the state government would bear medical expenses of the injured passengers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the deaths.
Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in HP’s Mandi district. My condolences with the families of the deceased: PM— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 13, 2017
I pray for the quick recovery of those injured in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 13, 2017
Team of @NDRFHQ is going to Mandi to take part in the rescue and relief operations and provide all possible assistance required.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 13, 2017
This is the third such major incident in Himachal Pradesh since 1988.
In 1988, 45 people travelling in a bus were buried in a landslide near in Shimla district. In 1994, 42 passengers were buried in an incident at Luggar Hati in Kullu district.