Two Himachal roadway buses were hit by a massive landslide triggered by a cloudburst on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway, leaving eight passengers dead while the fate of 22 others was not immediately known. The landslide happened on the national highway that connects Manali and Mandi, shortly after midnight.
Rescue workers were finding it hard to retrieve the remains of the Manali-bound bus as it rolled down 800 metres below the road and got stuck under a huge mound of debris.
One of the buses was travelling to Chamba from Manali while the other was travelling to Katra in Jammu from Manali when the landslide occurred. Rescue operations are said to be underway.
Confirming the development, Himachal Pradesh Transport Minister G S Bali said that around 50 people are feared to have been away in the incident.
One of the state roadways bus was hit by the landslide debris and skidded off the road, falling down by nearly a kilometre.
The bus from Chamba to Manali, carrying the maximum number of passengers, is yet to be retrieved from a mound of mud and boulders. "A bus had also rolled down to almost 800 m from the National Highway and four people have been rescued from the debris".
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh tweeted he is on his way to the accident site, adding the NDRF has been called in.