Updated: August 16, 2021 6:23:15 pm
Two more bodies were recovered on Monday from the site of the landslide in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, taking the death toll to 25, a senior official said. Search and rescue operations for those missing in the landslide that occurred on last Wednesday are underway.
ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey said they had recovered 23 bodies till Saturday. “Today, we have recovered two more dead bodies from the debris. Now at least four are still missing and our rescue operation is still on.”
Teams of ITBP, along with units of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), are engaged in rescue operations that continue to be hindered by falling rocks, officials said.
Eyewitnesses recounted large boulders tumbling down the mountainside around 12.45 pm on to NH-5 from Kinnaur to Shimla, on August 11. On the day of the incident, 10 bodies were recovered. At least 13 people, including the state transport bus’s driver Mahinder Pal and conductor Gulab Singh, were rescued and taken to a local hospital.
Earlier on Wednesday, eight bodies were found in a taxi during the search and rescue operation. Two cars had also been recovered in a damaged condition on Wednesday, but no one was found in them. On Thursday, four bodies were found from the landslide site, while three were taken out on Friday. Subsequently, six bodies were retrieved from the rubble on Saturday. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had informed the state assembly after visiting the spot on Thursday that 16 people were still missing. After that, 11 bodies have been recovered so far. At least five people are still missing, officials said.
Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) Regional Manager, Ajender Chaudhry, had said 24 people had boarded the bus at Reckong Peo. “When the landslide took place, the driver, conductor, and five other passengers had stepped out to check the boulders blocking the road. All of them, except for a woman who sustained serious injuries, escaped while the rest went down with the bus,” he said.