Kinnaur landslide: 14 bodies found so far, 26 feared trapped
One HRTC bus which was en route from Reckong Peo to Haridwar, one car, one Tata Sumo and one truck were found buried under the debris.
Wreckage of the bus carrying 22 passengers that was buried under a landslide in Negulsari in Kinnaur district, 210km from Shimla, was found 70 metres down the National Highway 5 on Thursday morning, superintendent of police Kinnaur Sarju Ram Rana said, as the death toll in the incident rose to 14 with the recovery of four more bodies.
The rescue operations that were halted on Wednesday night resumed at the break of dawn. “The bus (probably hit by the big boulders) slid down hill with the debris,” said Rana.
About a 70-metre stretch of the highway was blocked by debris. The road was reopened for traffic on Wednesday night. There were about 300 vehicles stranded on the both sides. “Three bodies of passengers were recovered from the wreckage in morning. Until last night, 10 bodies were retrieved from the wreckage till suspension of rescue operations,” Rana said.
Teams from Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Army and Himachal Pradesh police are carrying out rescue operations, said Sudesh Mokta, director of state disaster management authority, adding 37 personnel from the national disaster response force joined the rescue operations.
A total of 16 people are still missing, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur told the state assembly after returning from the landslide site near Chaura village on the National Highway 5 in Kinnaur district.
One Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus which was en route from Reckong Peo to Haridwar, one car, one Tata Sumo and one truck were found buried under the debris. Rescue teams retrieved eight bodies from the Tata Sumo. One Bolero vehicle and its passengers are still untraceable. “There were about 22 passengers in the bus when it got buried,” said HRTC managing director Sandeep Kumar. Both driver and conductor had alighted the vehicle to inquire about the road condition and when they turned back the bus was buried under debris,” he said. “Both are in a state of shock,” he said. The truck, hit by boulders had slid to the river side; and the body of the driver was recovered Wednesday yesterday evening. The wreckage of the bus was traced at 8.15am on Thursday.
Kinnaur deputy commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq said four more bodies were recovered from the spot on Thursday, adding that 14 bodies have been recovered so far.
CM Thakur said the state government will provide ₹4 lakh each to the next of kin of the dead and ₹50,000 to those seriously injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed grief over the deaths, he added.
With agency inputs.
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