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3:11 pm - Sunday November 22, 8144

50 feared buried alive in landslide

Agencies, Mandi

At least 50 people are feared to have been buried alive in a massive land slide in village Kotrupee late last night near this district of Himachal Pradesh.

The incident occurred about 41 km from Mandi, the district headquarters, on the national highway– 154 at around 0030 hrs when two Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses, en route to Katra in Jammu and Chamba district, stopped for a short tea break when suddenly a huge land slide from the hill side came rolling down.

While the Katra-bound bus rolled a few feet down and stuck somewhere mid way, the debris swept away the second bus over 900 meters down the gorge.

The land slide took away over 250 meter-long length of the national highway in its folds. The landslide suspected to be caused by a cloud burst on the hill-top has also swept away a car, a jeep and two two-wheelers and couple of houses along the road side. As per the reports, eight passengers were travelling in Manali-Katra bus out of which five were killed while three other sustained injuries and were rescued during the operation.

In the second bus, around 35 to 40 passengers are feared to have been buried and trapped inside the bus. More deaths are suspected as other vehicles stranded on the road have also been washed away in the massive land slide. The district administration swung into action and started the rescue operations with the help of police, home gaurds, PWD workers and some locals.

By 0230 hrs, five bodies were retrieved and five injured pulled out from the debris. Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam was the first to reach the spot with the team of his officials, including the police and doctors. Rescue teams from NDRF and the Army were called at the scene of the landslide from Kangra to take up the rescue and rehabilitation operation on a war-footing.

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