50-60 trapped, 4 rescued after massive landslide in Himachal Pradesh; PM Modi assures all possible support
Nearly 60 people were feared trapped and four others have been rescued after a bus, a truck and some other vehicles came under the rubble of a major landslide in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district on Wednesday afternoon.
"As per the information available so far, 50-60 people might be trapped there. Union Home Minister called us and said that the state can immediately tell them of any help that is needed. Army has offered us all possible help, they want to join the operation. 4 people have been rescued so far and taken to hospital," Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Thakur regarding the situation and assured all possible support in the ongoing rescue operations, said Prime Minister's Office.
The Chief Minister said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah enquired about the incident over phone and assured assistance.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said rescue teams are on the ground but the operation could not be started due to continuous landslide in the area.
Around 200 jawans of 3 battalions of ITBP are the spot where landslide is happening. The teams are waiting for more than one hour for the shooting stones to stop. It is believed that around 40 people are trapped. The area is currently very dangerous, ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey said.
“Six cars, including one 32-seater HRTC bus, are stuck and there is a possibility that the cars could have fell into the Sutlej River. It’s a fragile area and it’s difficult to move,” Pandey said.
The ITBP said as per the local police, the massive landslide occurred near Nigulsari on National Highway 5 at around 12:15 pm. An HRTC bus and three other vehicles came under the debris.
"On getting the info a rescue party consisting of GO 4, SO 5 and ors 35 including medics left for rescue at 1245 hrs... party had already reached the spot but rescue couldn't be started because of continuous slide... CO 43 and others are also left for incident site....another party Of 01-03- 32 fm 17 Bn has also moved for the loc," an ITBP input said, while adding that rescuers were trying to reach the trapped people from both sides.
The ITBP had earlier tweeted: "A landslide occurred on the Reckong Peo-Shimla highway in Kinnaur district today. One truck and one HRTC bus reportedly came under the rubble. Many people are reportedly trapped. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) team has been rushed for rescue operations."
"The landslide in Kinnaur is extremely disturbing as many people are reported to be trapped. I request the party workers to extend all possible help in affected areas," BJP president JP Nadda appealed.
Kinnaur MLA JS Negi meanwhile said two people had been rescued from the site.
"The landslide incident has taken place near Nigulsari. A bus is buried under the rubble there. Few cars and a truck are suspected to be trapped. The bus driver and one more person have been rescued. ITBP rescue teams are at the spot, operation hindered due to falling boulders," Negi said.
Kinnaur superintendent of police Saju Ram Rana said that ITBP, police, home guards and rescue team have been deployed at the incident site.
"We have information on a landslide under Bhaba Nagar police station on National Highway. We are rushing to the spot. ITBP, police, home guards and rescue team have been deployed. We give more details after reaching the spot," the police official said.
The incident comes days after nine tourists were killed and two other injured after heavy boulders fell on their tempo traveller after a massive landslide near Basteri in the Kinnaur district.