Two Himachal Pradesh roadways buses were buried in a massive landslide, killing at least 46 people and injuring several others at Kotpuri near Padhar on the Mandi–Pathankot national highway, officials said. The toll could increase as more than 50 passengers were traveling in the two buses hit by the landslide.
Some other vehicles may also have been hit by the landslide, which was triggered by a cloud burst. “Forty-six bodies have been recovered, and of these 23 have been identified,” an official said.
Notably, rescue operations were suspended as there were apprehensions of more landslides. It will resume today. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team along with the Army and the police rushed to the location. Heavy earth-moving machinery was deployed at the gorge where the two buses lay buried under a heap of debris.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi condoled the deaths saying, “Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in HP’s Mandi district. My condolences to the families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted. I pray for the quick recovery of those injured, he added.
Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, who visited the site on Sunday, has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for next of kin of the deceased.
Two HRTC buses got washed away following a massive landslide in Kotroopi area of Mandi district early on Sunday. One bus was traveling to Chamba from Manali, and the other was on its way to Katra in Jammu from Manali.
Himachal Pradesh transport minister, GS Bali confirmed the development and said that around 50 people are feared to have been washed away in the tragedy.
Mandi deputy commissioner, Sandeep Kadam said the possibility of more deaths could not be ruled out.