At least five pilgrims, including three from Gujarat, were killed after a car in which they were travelling to Kedarnath was crushed under debris from a landslide in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district on Thursday night, news agency PTI reported.
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The landslide occurred at Tarsali near Phata on the Guptkashi-Gaurikund highway, washing away a 60-metre stretch of the road. The devotees were travelling to the holy shrine of Kedarnath in a car when it was hit by a mass of stones and boulders falling from the mountain between Phata and Sonprayag.
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As soon as the information was received of the incident, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) launched a rescue operation but downpour hindered the work. Five bodies were pulled out of the mangled remains of the car on Friday when the weather cleared, they said.
The deceased have been identified as Jigar R Modi, Mahesh Desai, Parik Divyansh, from Gujrat, and Mintu Kumar, and Manish Kumar from Haridwar, the officials said.
The mangled remains of the car, a Swift Dzire and the bodies were pulled out of the debris of the landslide on resumption of the rescue operation on Friday, Nandan Singh Rajwar Rudraprayag District Disaster Management officer told PTI.
Meanwhile, state chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami undertook a ground inspection of the rain-hit Kotdwar area where a man had gone missing in a landslide a couple of days ago and several bridges were damaged, cutting off a large population from the rest of the state.
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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued an “orange” alert for heavy rain in six districts for Friday and a “red” alert for the next three days in the hill state in the wake of the incessant rainfall.
According to data from the State Emergency Operation Center, 58 people have been killed and 37 people have been injured so far in various incidents during this monsoon while 19 others are missing.