At least 10 persons were killed and about 30 others feared buried under debris after a major landslide trapped a bus and other vehicles in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district on Wednesday, officials said.
State Disaster Management director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said at least 13 persons were pulled out of the rubble in an injured condition during the initial hours of the rescue operation and shifted to a nearby hospital.
A landslide reported on Reckong Peo- Shimla Highway in #Kinnaur District in Himachal Pradesh today at around 12.45 Hrs. One truck, a HRTC Bus and few vehicles reported came under the rubble. Many people reported trapped. ITBP teams rushed for rescue. More details awaited. pic.twitter.com/ThLYsL2cZK
— ITBP (@ITBP_official) August 11, 2021
One of the deceased has been identified as Rohit Kumar of Kayao village in Rampur area of Shimla district, Mokhta said.
Here's what happened today:
- The landslide and shooting of stones occurred at Chaura village on national highway number five in Nigulsari of Nichar tehsil in Kinnaur district at around noon, he said.
- The official said among the injured is Mahinder Pal, the driver of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus, which was trapped under the debris.
- The identity of others is being ascertained, he added.
- The injured have been shifted to Bhawanagar community health centre (CHC), Mokhta said.
- He said the HRTC bus, which was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar via Shimla, a car and a truck lie damaged near the vicinity of the landslide area.
- As per the information provided by a police officer in Bhawanagar, around 25 to 30 are still trapped under the debris.
- The rescue operation is on to locate the trapped persons, he added.
- The State Disaster Management Authority has requisitioned the NDRF from Nurpur for conducting the search and rescue operation, the police officer said.
- District administration officials, search and rescue team comprising members of local police, homeguards, NDRF, ITBP, Quick Response Team (Police) and Medical Team are at the incident site, he said.
- Ten ambulances, four earth removers, 52 personnel of the ITBP's 17th Battalion, 30 personnel of police and 27 NDRF personnel are carrying out the rescue operation, he added.
- Earlier, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur told the state assembly that there are reports that 50-60 people are feared trapped under the debris, but the exact number was not known.
He said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has talked to him and the topmost priority as of now is to rescue those trapped under the debris and provide them the best possible treatment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Thakur regarding the incident.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 11, 2021
The home minister also directed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to provide all assistance to the Himachal Pradesh government in rescue and relief operations.
Thakur also told the Assembly that an army official called him and extended help.
A helicopter is also being arranged for the rescue operation, the chief minister said.
He said the landslide occurred when there was no rainfall in the area at that time.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq told PTI that several vehicles, including the HRTC bus carrying over 40 passengers, were buried under the debris.
Several people have been killed in landslides in the state this monsoon season.
Earlier on 25 July, nine people were killed and three others injured in multiple landslides near Batseri on Sangla-Chitkul road in Kinnaur district.
Similarly on 27 July, at least eight people died, two were injured and two went missing in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst over the Tozing Nullah in Udaipur of Lahaul-Spiti district.
Jal Shakti minister Mahender Singh Thakur had informed the state Assembly on 4 August that a total of 218 people have died and 12 were missing in Himachal Pradesh this monsoon season.
With inputs from PTI