At least 13 people have died and dozens are missing after a landslide caused rocks and heavy boulders to crash onto a highway in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday.
The landslide hit in the morning local time, leaving a bus and several other vehicles trapped on the mountainside highway.
Photos from the scene show rescue workers navigating crushed vehicle parts, flipped cars and scattered debris, with portions of the highway blocked completely by loose earth fallen from the mountain above.
Search and rescue teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force and other emergency agencies were immediately deployed to the site, with operations continuing overnight. More than 200 personnel continued to work along the stretch of National Highway 5, which connects northern India to the border with China, according to Reuters.
So far, 13 people have been rescued, said a spokesperson from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police on Thursday. More than 20 people are still missing, he said. “The debris fell from quite high up,” local police chief Saju Ram Rana told Reuters, adding that heavy machinery was being brought in to clear the area.
“The landslide tragedy at Kinnaur is very saddening,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May the injured recover at the earliest.”
Modi’s office also tweeted the government would provide 200,000 rupees (about $2,696) to the families of those who died in the landslide, and 50,000 rupees ($674) to those injured.
In the past month, India has recorded dozen of deaths due to landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. In July, at least 31 people died in two landslides in Mumbai.