Seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprising 300 personnel pressed into search and rescue operations in Malin village were finding rescue efforts tough in the muddy terrain where rain that triggered the landslide was continuing. NDRF officers emphasised time was important in rescue operations.
The NDRF base in Talegaon near Pune was informed about the landslide near Bhimashankar in the morning by the district administration and initially two teams were sent. NDRF Commandant Alok Awasthi said, “As our first two teams comprising around 100 personnel reached the spot, it was clear that we would need more strength and soon around 200 were sent.”
NDRF’s first teams reached the spot around 12 noon and started operations. NDRF deputy inspector general (operations) S S Guleria said, “The first difficulty before our teams was the approach route blocked by several vehicles and this entire area is muddy. Our personnel had to walk seven kilometres carrying the equipment.”
According to Guleria, the affected area on the western side of the village was 100 metres in length and over 150 metres wide and the the debris would be could be around 20 feet deep.
According to the NDRF’s primary information, until 7 pm, the number of people believed to be trapped was 158.
Fourteen of the injured were rescued and 17 bodies were taken out till 7 pm.
He added, “I have to admit that as the time passes, chances of survival become thinner. The houses are buried in mud. Our teams are carrying state-of-the-art cutting and drilling equipment and lights. We require a lot of local support in these cases and we are getting it.”
More teams of he NDRF from their Mumbai base are likely to be pressed into operation. An unmanned aerial vehicle has been kept on standby.
A team from the Fire Brigade of Pune Municipal Corporation was sent to the spot to assist in the rescue operation.