SHIMLA- Ten persons, including one child and five women, were killed and thirteen others injured, while about 50 persons are feared buried under the debris after a massive landslide trapped an HRTC bus, a truck and other vehicles near Neugal Sari, about 170 km from here, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district on Wednesday.
The ill-fated 42-seater HRTC bus was on its way from Rekong Peo to Haridwar when the landslide occurred. The bus and three light vehicles were buried under the debris, while the truck was hit by a shooting boulder and plunged into the Sutlej River.
One vehicle was fully damaged and a Swift car was partially damaged while the truck, which was hit by a huge boulder, plunged into the river and the driver died on the spot.
The road was cleared for small vehicles in the late evening. However, there was no trace of the bus and a Balero till late evening.
The rescue operation, meanwhile, is in full swing and a team comprising ten ambulances, four earth removers, 52 ITBP personnel, 30 police and 27 NDRF personnel are on the spot.
The rescue operation would continue all night till all the persons were recovered, said Kinnaur SP Saju Ram Rana.
However, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who could not reach the spot due to inclement weather and fog said that it was feared that the number of persons trapped in the vehicles buried under landslide could be around 60.
Earlier, the rescue operation was hampered as the shooting boulders continued to roll down, posing grave risk to rescue teams but situation improved after two-three hours and heavy machinery and men were deployed to expedite the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, two of the deceased were identified as Rohit (23) of Kaiya village in Rampur tehsil in Shimla district and Vijay Kumar (32) of Jhol village in Hamirpur district, while eight bodies, which were recovered from the wreckages of a Tata Sumo, are yet to be identified.
The injured included Prashant, Varun Menon, Rajender, Daulat, Charan Jeet Singh, Mahinder Pal (bus driver), Gulab Singh (bus conductor), Saveen Sharma, Chander Gyan, Arun, Anil Kumar, and Kaizang Negi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah expressed shock over the accident and assured full help to the state. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who apprised the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of the situation, said both of them assured full support to meet any exigency.