As many as 23 persons travelling in two buses were feared dead after the buses were swept away by a massive landslide near Jogindernagar in Mandi district last night. The buses are believed to have stopped for tea around midnight at a roadside stall at Kotrupi near Padder in Mandi district when the landslide struck, and swept them nearly 1 km into a gorge.Most passengers travelling in the HRTC buses were from Chamba and Pathankot. One was an AC bus from the Pathankot depot (HP63-5840) and the other an ordinary bus from Chamba depot (HP73-4423). Driver Chanden Sharma and conductor Satpal of the Chamba depot bus were reported killed, while the staff of the other bus survived as they were not in the vehicle when the landslide hit.Till the filing of this report the authorities had managed to pull out eight bodies from the buses buried under stones and mud.
Besides the driver and the conductor, the six deceased passengers were identified as Sachvetra D/o Mela Ram, R/o Rampur; Manju D/o Ram Kishan, R/o of Karsog; Shubam R/o Pathankot; Anita D/o Neo Ram, R/o Kurari village in Nagar area of Mandi; Beauty Sharma R/o Patna, Bihar; and Rajesh R/o Sarah village, Dharamsala.
The two bus depots reported a total figure of 21 passengers booked on the buses, but it was not known if any passengers got on board on the way.