Himachal Pradesh: 50 people killed in landslide in Mandi

Himachal Pradesh: 50 people killed in landslide in Mandi

At least 46 people have been killed and several injured after a massive landslide swept two buses off a hillside into a deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district early Sunday. "A bus had also rolled down to almost 800 m from the National Highway and four people have been rescued from the debris".

Six bodies were recovered from the site of the landslide. Three of the eight persons aboard the bus died. Body of one biker was also recovered from the debris.

The five persons who survived were on the Manali-Katra bus.

"As per the last communication with the driver, the bus (to Manali) was packed to capacity", Transport Minister G.S. Bali told a news channel. Rescue operations are said to be underway. The work would resume tomorrow.

Personnel from National Disaster Response Force and Army, along with district authorities have been pressed into service to carry out rescue operations.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal rushed to the spot.

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Governor Acharya Devvrat also expressed grief.

The Health Minister announced financial assistance of rupees four lakh to the next of kin of the deceased while the Transport Minister announced that rupees one lakh would be given by HRTC.

The impact of the landslide was such that around 200 metres stretch of the NH was completely swept away 700-800 metres downhill.

The highway was closed and hundreds of vehicles were stranded on both sides, officials said.

"The government will take all possible steps to trace the bodies and rescue any survivors and stand by the families that lost their near and dear in the tragedy", said the CM.