At least 46 dead after landslide sweeps buses off mountain

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One of the buses was ferrying over 40 passengers, majority locals. The area has been witnessing heavy rains for the past one week.

Only 12 bodies have been recovered so far after daylong rescue and joint search operation carried out by the administration, police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), army and locals. The exact number of passengers in the two buses was not yet known. Her two daughters and son had died.

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.

D D Sharma, Director, Disaster management, Himachal Pradesh government said that a team of forensic experts had also been called considering that several of the bodies were mutilated. Hindustan Times quoted Mandi deputy commissioner Sandeep Kadam who said that 'possibility of more deaths could not be ruled out'.

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.

As per the reports, eight passengers were travelling in Manali-Katra bus out of which five were killed while three other sustained injuries and were rescued during the operation.

"Around 50 people are feared to have been washed away in the landslide", Himachal Pradesh's Transport Minister G.S. Bali told the media. Another survivor claimed that the man was also swept away by the landslide.

As the rescue operation intensified in the morning, more dead bodies were retrieved.

Official report said that seven earth removers and 50 workers were pressed into clearing the muck.

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