8 killed as two buses hit by massive landslides

Shimla, Aug 13 (PTI) Two Himachal roadway buses were hit by a massive landslide triggered by a cloudburst on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway, leaving eight passengers dead while the fate of 22 others was not immediately known.

Himachal Transport minister G S Bali said the toll could climb to 50 in the incident which took place last night.

One of the buses was going from Manali to Katra and another from Manali to Chamba.

The buses had halted for a tea break at Kotrupi in the night when the tragedy struck, said special secretary (Disaster) D D Sharma.

The landslide swept away the road and the buses for almost 800 metres down into a gorge and there was no trace of one of the buses which was completely buried under the debris so far.

The number of passengers in the buses could be between 30 and 40 as the number of passengers who boarded the bus en route was not known.

He said immediately after receiving the information the ADM was rushed to the spot.

The Army and NDRF teams have reached the spot and started rescue operation along with the police, administration and local people. The IG central range and Deputy Commissioner and SP are on the spot, he added.

Director General of Police Somesh Goyal said that as per preliminary information there were eight passengers in the Manali-Katra Volvo bus while 47 passengers were travelling in the other bus.

Authorities have been directed to arrange for on the spot postmortem, he added.

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