Shimla: At least two people were killed in a massive landslide on National Highway 5 in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district on Wednesday, while 10 others were extricated as rescue operations were launched to free others feared trapped in the debris, police said.
A truck, a state-run bus and other vehicles were buried in the landslide that occurred over a large stretch on the highway near Nigulsari, 61 km from Reckong Peo, the district headquarters of Kinnaur.
However, there was no official confirmation about the number of people missing in the disaster.
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus was on its way to Hardwar from Rekong Peo via Shimla.
Local legislator Jagat Singh Negi said told the media that 25 passengers were in the bus. The driver of the bus was rescued and has been hospitalised.
Negi said the frequent landslips are hampering the rescue operation.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur told reporters in Shimla that he directed the Kinnaur administration to speed up relief and rescue operation.
“The exact casualties in the landslide are yet to be ascertained. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) has been summoned for rescuing the people,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Thakur and assured him of all possible help.
This is the second major natural disaster in Kinnaur. Last month, nine people, most of them tourists, were killed by a landslide as boulders fell and hit the vehicle they were travelling in.
This monsoon also caused major landslides in the state’s Kangra district, claiming 10 lives. Terrifying videos capturing massive landslides in Sirmaur district are common these days.
Seven people died in the exceptionally high rainfall across the cold desert of Lahaul-Spiti district on July 27-28. Keylong and Udaipur subdivision of the district faced 12 incidents of flash flood after a cloudburst, in which the Tozing Nallah’s impact was devastating.