MALIN, India: Rescuers using earth-moving equipment and their bare hands dug through heavy mud and debris Thursday after a landslide engulfed an entire village in western India, killing at least 30 people and leaving about 100 missing and feared dead.
More than 24 hours after the Wednesday morning landslide, authorities said the chances of survival were slim for anyone still trapped under the mud in Malin, a village of some 700 people in Pune district of Maharashtra state.
Suresh Jadhav, a district official, said around 40 homes were wiped out.
Two days of torrential rains triggered the landslide, which continued to pound the area as rescuers brought bodies covered in soaked white sheets to waiting ambulances while relatives stood by, weeping. Bad communications, dangerous roads and debris delayed national rescue personnel from the stricken area for several hours Wednesday.
The disaster only came to light when a bus driver passed by and saw that the village had disappeared under masses of mud and earth.
“The driver returned to a nearby city and alerted authorities,” Jadhav said. “Everything on the mountain came down.”
Thirty bodies had been recovered and eight people pulled out alive, said rescue official Sachin Tamboli.
Suresh Dhonde, who was working in another town when the landslide ripped through his village, said only two people managed to get out of his home alive.
“The other six are buried under the mud,” he said.
Crowds of people from nearby areas were helping rescuers, using their bare hands to move fallen trees and rocks. About 250 disaster response workers and at least 100 ambulances were involved in the rescue effort, officials said.
Overnight, emergency workers used flood lights mounted on jeeps to illuminate the disaster area, where the tangled roofs of homes poked up through thick mud.
Rescuers expected the death toll to rise in the village at the foothills of the Sahyadri Mountains. Sandeep Rai Rathore, a top official of the National Disaster Response Force, estimated that around 100 people were missing and feared dead.