10 dead, dozens feared trapped by landslide in north India

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New Delhi

A large landslide struck a bus and several other vehicles traveling on a highway in the mountains of northern India on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and trapping dozens of others, officials said.

Television images showed boulders and rocks rolling down the hillside before crashing into vehicles on the highway in Himachal Pradesh state.

Fourteen people were rescued, said Vivek Kumar Pandey, a spokesman for a paramilitary force involved in the search.

A bus, a truck and two cars were smashed in the landslide in Kinnaur district, police said. The number of passengers in the bus wasn’t immediately known.

Eight bodies were found in a sports utility vehicle, a police statement said. Police said they found the bodies of a driver and another person in the truck, which rolled down to a riverbank.

Those rescued have been taken to hospitals but are not seriously injured, district administrator Abid Hussain Sadiq said.

More than 100 rescuers, including police and paramilitary personnel, were deployed to clear the rubble using four earth removers, police said in a statement. Ten ambulances waited to carry the injured to hospitals. The rescue work was picking up with the weather improving in the area.

Heavy rain has caused several landslides in Himachal Pradesh state over the past few weeks. The region is 600 kilometers (375 miles) north of New Delhi.

Disasters caused by landslides and flooding are common in India during the June-September monsoon season.

In August, about 150 people were killed by landslides and flooding triggered by monsoon rains in western India’s Maharashtra state.

Experts say heavy rainfall along India’s western coast is in line with how rainfall patterns have changed in past years due to climate change, as the warming Arabian Sea drives more cyclones and more intense rainfall over short periods of time.—AP

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