Over 50 passengers are feared dead after two buses belonging to the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation were swept away in a landslide in the Mandi district of the state during the early hours of Sunday.
One of the buses was on its way to Chamba from Manali, while the other one was on its way to Katra in Jammu from Manali.
Himachal Transport minister GS Bali said the toll could climb to 50 in the incident which took place last night.
So far, eight bodies have been recovered from the debris. The landslide happened on the national highway that connects Manali and Mandi, shortly after midnight.
Mandi deputy commissioner Sandeep Kadam said the possibility of more deaths could not be ruled out.
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At least 36 people lost their lives due to landslides on Manali-Pathankot NH 154 highway in two separate incidents. The administration called in the army and NDRF teams for the rescue operations.
"The rain has hampered the rescue operation which is making it tough for the police and home guard", Kadam added.
One of the state roadways bus was hit by the landslide debris and skidded off the road, falling down by nearly a kilometre.
Local TV channels reported that the two buses were stationed at a roadside eatery located on the highway for refreshments when the disaster occurred.