At least 6 killed, many houses and vehicles damaged in Himachal landslide

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The vehicles stopped for a tea break at midnight on Saturday in Himachal Pradesh state when tonnes of rock and mud swept away an entire stretch of highway roughly 200km from the state capital Shimla.

The administration has called the Army and NDRF teams for rescue operation as many people are still buried under debris. Five people have been rescued, an official said. Six passengers have survived, whereas 2 bodies have been recovered from the debris. "My condolences with the families of the deceased".

The landslide happened at Kotrupi, 220 kilometres from Shimla.

Bali said that two Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses - both from Manali - were trapped under boulders.

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The landslide swept away the road and the buses for nearly 800 metres down into a gorge and there was no trace of one of the buses which was completely buried under the debris so far. One of the buses was going from Manali to Katra and another from Manali to Chamba.

The bus from Chamba to Manali was carrying the maximum number of passengers.

Mandi deputy commissioner Sandeep Kadam said the possibility of more deaths could not be ruled out.

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh will reportedly visit the site of the accident to take stock of the situation. "Immediate relief will be provided", Mr Singh said.

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