Pune landslide: Toll rises to 23

The death toll in the landslide at Malin village near here rose to 23 on Thursday morning even as rescue workers resumed operations, which were hampered during the night due to rain and poor visibility.

As many as 44 houses were crushed in Malin village, situated in Ambegaon taluka, some 120km from the district headquarters here in western Maharashtra, by the massive landslide that occurred on Wednesday morning trapping about 160 people under the debris after large parts of a hillside collapsed on them.

According to National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials, 23 bodies have been recovered so far from under the debris by NDRF jawans, who also saved eight injured persons pulling them out alive.

Intermittent rains and slushy terrain were affecting the rescue work, district officials said.

Meanwhile, Union home minister Rajnath Singh has left for the mishap site on Thursday morning after an overnight halt at Pune, city police control room said.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan visited the mishap site on Wednesay night and reviewed rescue operations, appealing to people not to crowd the village as it could affect the ongoing work.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Wednesday condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy and asked Singh to rush to Pune to take stock of the situation.

Earth-moving machinery has been pressed into service but the rescuers are moving slowly to avoid causing harm to the possible survivors, Pune collector Saurav Rao had earlier said, adding the operation to clear the rubble was on.

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