17 dead, over 150 trapped in Pune landslide, rescue operations on
PUNE: At least 17 people were killed when torrential
rains triggered a landslide at a village in Maharashtra’s Pune district on Wednesday,
burying over 160 as 400 NDRF personnel looked for survivors and bodies in the
mud-and-rock debris battling inclement weather.
Officials said the death toll could go up. 14 injured
survivors have also been pulled out of the rubble and admitted to a primary
health centre nearby, sources at an emergency control room set up at
Khed-Manchar said. An earlier report had said 15 persons were extricated from
the debris alive.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said over 160 people
were believed to be trapped in the 44 houses buried under the rubble after
large parts of a hillside collapsed on them early this morning.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit
Malin village, the scene of the tragedy, in Ambegaon taluka of the district,
some 120 km from the district headquarters, Thursday, according to a BJP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of
lives in the tragedy and asked Singh to rush to Pune to take stock of the
situation. “The Prime Minister has condoled the loss of lives in the landslide
and directed all possible efforts to help the affected people,” a PMO statement
said in Delhi.
Large earth-moving machinery have been pressed into
service but the rescuers are moving slowly to avoid causing harm to the
possible survivors, Pune collector Saurav Rao said, adding the operation to
clear the rubble was on.
Crowds have gathered at the spot and villagers could
be seen moving fallen trees and rocks with bare hands to assist 300 National
Disaster Response Force personnel in rescue efforts. Scores of JCBs, dumpers
and ambulances have been pressed into service to clear the rubble and shift the
dead and survivors to hospitals, Rao said.