At least 15 passengers lost their lives after two buses belonging to the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation were swept away in a landslide in the Mandi district of the state during the early hours of Sunday.
One of the buses was carrying 47 passengers from Chamba to Mandi while the second bus, was carrying about 8-10 passengers from Katra to Manali when the accident occurred. The landslide happened on the national highway that connects Manali and Mandi, shortly after midnight.
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In a post on Facebook, Himachal Pradesh transport minister GS Bali said that rescue operations have been underway at the site since 2 am and also Indian Army has been called in to assist considering the seriousness of the situation.
"I am in constant touch with the district authorities and other concerned officials," Bali added. The minister also posted helpline numbers of the HRTC and the district authorities.
- HRTC: 01905-235538, 9418001051
- District authorities: 01905-226201, 202, 203, 204
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Deputy commissioner of Mandi, Sandeep Kadam told ANI: "Three vehicles were stranded after the landslide. A bus had also rolled down to nearly 800 m from the National Highway and four people have been rescued from the debris."
Kadam added: "The rain has hampered the rescue operations which is making it tough for the police and home guard."
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh will visit the site of the accident to take stock of the situation.