A massive landslide hit two Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation buses, leading to the death of 46 people. Amongst the recovered bodies, 43 are from the Chamba-Manali bus and three from the Manali-Katra bus.
The landslide took place on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway 154 on Sunday.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh visited the landslide spot and announced ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for next of kin of the deceased.
Meanwhile, two search and rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are operational in Mandi, reports ANI.
A team of NDRF and the army dug through mounds of mud and stones to recover 46 bodies from the site, Mandi deputy commissioner Sandeep Kadam told Hindustan Times. The rescuers reportedly also pulled out five people alive from the rubble. At least 10 people are feared trapped under the landslide debris.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths that occurred due to a landslide.
"Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in HP's Mandi district. My condolences with the families of the deceased," Modi tweeted.
"I pray for the quick recovery of those injured in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh," he added.
Himachal Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, Transport minister G S Bali and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister Anil Sharma had also visited the spot. Thakur announced financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased while Bali announced that Rs 1 lakh would be given to each bereaved family by the HRTC.
The landslide took place a little after midnight on the highway connecting Manali and Mandi. It swept away the road and the buses for almost 800 metres down into a gorge leaving no trace of one of the buses. It was found to be under the debris. Five houses were also damaged in the landslide.
With inputs from Agencies