Bodies of five people travelling in a car were recovered Friday, hours after the vehicle was buried under a cascade of debris caused by a landslide in the Tarsali area of Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand late on Thursday night.
While the deceased are yet to be identified, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team involved in the rescue operation was told by the local people that the vehicle (registration number UK07 TB 6315) was heading from Phata towards Sonprayag when it suddenly got buried under the debris due to the landslide.
The SDRF said in a statement that the Rudraprayag district control room informed the force Thursday night that a vehicle has been trapped under debris from a landslide in the Tarsali area. “The SDRF rescue team, along with chief constable Mahesh Chand, immediately left for the spot with rescue equipment. The team immediately reached the spot and started the search operation. But due to torrential rains and stones falling from above, the rescue operation had to be stopped,” the SDRF stated.
The SDRF team resumed the search operation Friday morning as soon as the rain stopped.
“Simultaneously, the work of removing debris with the help of JCB also started from both sides of the debris pile. As soon as the big boulders were removed, it was seen that a Swift car was buried under the debris. The bodies of 5 occupants of the car were recovered from the pile of debris and handed over to the district police. The process of identification of dead bodies is in progress,” the statement read.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami did a ground inspection of the disaster-hit area of Kotdwar and instructed the officials to restore the road connectivity in the area on a war footing and provide necessary facilities to the affected people.
During his visit, he gave directions to fix the drainage system in the waterlogged areas and ensure that fogging and lime sprinkling is done as per the requirement and make a comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by the disaster.
He said that priority is being given to bringing the state to normal and providing quick relief to those affected by the calamity.
Dhami took to X (formerly Twitter) to request all the residents and tourists in the state to avoid unnecessary travel as red and orange alerts have been issued by the Meteorological Department in many districts.
He said in the post that the district administration and SDRF have been instructed to remain alert for 24 hours and that he was personally monitoring every situation by keeping in touch with the authorities concerned.