At least 15 dead after landslide hits highway in northern India

At least 15 dead after landslide hits highway in northern India
Indo Tibetan Border Police/AP

Two more bodies have been recovered from the rubble of a landslide in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, police said Friday, taking the death toll to 15 — with at least 18 people still missing.

The landslide, which hit on Wednesday morning local time, left a bus and several other vehicles trapped on a mountainside highway.

Photos from the scene show rescue workers navigating crushed vehicle parts, flipped cars and scattered debris, with portions of the highway blocked completely by loose earth fallen from the mountain above.

Search and rescue teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force and other emergency agencies were immediately deployed to the site, with operations continuing overnight. More than 200 personnel continued to work along the stretch of National Highway 5, which connects northern India to the border with China, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police said on Thursday that 13 people had been rescued.

“The debris fell from quite high up,” local police chief Saju Ram Rana told Reuters, adding that heavy machinery was being brought in to clear the area.

“The landslide tragedy at Kinnaur is very saddening,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May the injured recover at the earliest.”

In the past month, India has recorded dozen of deaths due to landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. In July, at least 31 people died in two landslides in Mumbai.

This story has been updated.

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