At least 50 people are feared dead after two Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses washed away in a massive landslide in Kotroopi area of Mandi district on Thursday. Rescue and relief operations are still underway at the accident site. Eight bodies have been recovered, including the driver and the conductor of Chamba depot Chanden Sharma and Satpal, respectively.
Following the incident, the National Highway 21 from Mandi to Aut has been closed due to the threat of landslides.
The landslide happened at Kotrupi, 220 kilometres from Shimla.
Another state roadways bus, which was on its way from Manali to Katra, was also hit by the landslide debris.
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"The rain has hampered the rescue operation which is making it tough for the police and home guard", said Deputy Commissioner of Mandi, Sandeep Kadam.
While one bus was on its way to Chamba district from the resort town of Manali, another was on its way to Katra in the neighboring state of Jammu and Kashmir from Manali.
Confirming the development, Himachal Pradesh Transport Minister G S Bali said that around 50 people are feared to have been away in the incident.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal rushed to the spot.
It was not immediately clear how many people were travelling in the buses, Kadam said.
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