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Rescue operation underway after landslide in Himachal, 14 bodies recovered, 16 still missing

Shimla | Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday visited the devastating landslide site to take stock of the ongoing rescue operation in Kinnaur district, from where 14 bodies have been recovered so far, while at least 16 people are still missing. . Meanwhile, rescue teams have said that the debris of a state roadways bus was found lying in a 500-meter-deep gorge as part of a massive relief operation on Thursday morning following the landslide.

Thakur told the media after returning to Shimla, “As per our estimate around 16 people are still missing and rescue operation is on.”

He said that the state would provide Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured. He said that the next of kin of the deceased bus passengers would also be provided Rs one lakh each.

Most of the victims are from Kinnaur district.

Rescue operations with the help of multiple agencies are underway to rescue those trapped within a 200-metre radius of the debris.

A truck, state roadways bus and other vehicles were crushed in a landslide on a section of the Shimla-Rekong Peo highway near Nigulsari, about 180 km from the state capital.

In a tweet in the morning, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said the wreckage of the bus at first light (5.25 am) by ITBP soldiers of 17, 18 and 43 battalions about 500 meters below the road and 200 meters above the Sutlej river. met. Another body has been recovered. A total of 11 bodies have been recovered so far.

State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta told IANS that 15 people trapped under the debris have been rescued.

He said the highway is still closed for traffic.

Local MLA Jagat Singh Negi visited the spot and oversaw the rescue operation of ITBP, local authorities, Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus was going from Rekong Peo to Haridwar via Shimla. On exit, the driver and the operator narrowly escaped.

The bus driver told the media that when he saw rocks falling on the highway, he stopped the bus just before the accident site and some vehicles came to a halt behind the bus.

The driver said that he, along with the conductor, proceeded to assess the gravity of the situation. “As we moved forward 100 metres, we saw the entire mountain roll down in a matter of seconds and fall on the bus and other vehicles,” he said. Some vehicles rolled into the ditch due to the impact of boulders and debris.

Eyewitnesses said that the administration had to struggle a lot in evacuating the victims from the badly damaged bus.

It took rescuers hours to climb the mountain and retrieve the bodies. Police officials said that a landslide that occurred on Thursday also hampered the rescue operation.

Kinnaur is one of the remotest places in the state and due to the lack of passenger buses and low frequency in the district, there is congestion of vehicles.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to CM Thakur and assured him of all possible help.

Expressing condolences to the bereaved families of the victims and injured in the tragic landslide, the French Ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenin tweeted, “We hope that the brave rescuers will be able to assist those still missing or stranded.

This is the second major natural calamity in Kinnaur in less than a month. Earlier on July 25, there was a major landslide and nine people, mostly tourists, were killed when a boulder fell on a vehicle.

This monsoon has also caused major landslides in the Kangra district of the state, in which 10 people have lost their lives.

Horrific videos capturing massive landslides in the Sirmaur district are quite viral these days.

Seven people have also died due to extraordinarily heavy rains in the cold desert of Lahaul-Spiti district on July 27-28.

The district’s Keylong and Udaipur subdivisions have faced 12 incidents of flash floods after a cloudburst, in which Tojing Nala (small river) was on the rise.

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