Eight of the victims were killed in the minibus that was knocked off the road and fell in a ditch, the ninth succumbed to injuries in a nearby hospital.
Nine people which included eight tourists and their driver were killed after a boulder racing down a hill during a landslide smashed into their tourist vehicle in Sangla valley of Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.
Among those killed was a 27-year-old naval officer from Darri in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district and his US-based friend; a 34-year-old woman ayurveda doctor from Jaipur; and three members of a family — a young chartered accountant, his sister, and their mother — from Sikar in Rajasthan.
The tourists had been brought to Sangla by a Delhi-based travel agency. Two of the 11 people in the vehicle, Shiril Obroy from Delhi and Naveen Bhardbaaj from Mohali escaped with injuries, said Kinnaur public relations officer Narinder Sharma.
“Eight of the victims were killed in the minibus that was knocked off the road and fell in a ditch; the ninth succumbed to injuries in a nearby hospital. There were four women and five men among the dead,” Kinnaur Superintendent of Police S R Rana said.
Ranjeet Singh, a 45-year-old man, who was working in the fields also suffered injuries due to the boulders.
Watch: Himachal Pradesh — Boulders roll downhill due to landslide in Kinnaur district resulting in bridge collapse; vehicles damaged
The tourists were on the Sangla-Bateseri road near Bateseri village on their way from Chitkul to Sangla when a massive landslide occurred in the hill above them, sending several huge boulders rolling down the slope.
“It was a bright, sunny day and the landslide was unexpected. The minibus rolled down a khud after being hit by the boulder,” Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq said.
A bridge on the road collapsed after another boulder fell on it. Some houses too were damaged. Local people reached the spot of the accident first, and had taken the injured to the hospital by the time district administration officials arrived from Reckong Peo.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed condolences over the deaths, and directed the administration to ensure immediate relief to the people affected by this disaster.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying, “An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in an accident in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Rs 50,000 would be given to the injured.”
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