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3 Punjab residents found dead under landslide debris

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Banihal, Nov 14: Three Punjab residents, including a father-son duo, who had gone missing last week following a landslide on Jammu-Srinagar national highway, were found dead under the debris Wednesday, police said.

Search teams recovered the bodies from the landslide site at Battery Cheshma along Banihal-Ramban stretch after a hectic 10-day search, a police official said.

He identified the deceased as driver Karaj Singh (26), conductor Joginder Lal (45) and his son Kashmiri Lal (21), all residents of Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

The landslide struck the highway on November 05 and Singh’s apple-laden truck, coming from Srinagar to Jammu, possibly got caught in the landslide and rolled down into a 600-foot gorge.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had joined the search on November 10. It intensified after a family from Punjab approached the authorities in Ramban, claiming three people on board a truck were missing on their way back from Srinagar.

The Army had deployed drones after the landslide struck the highway to help police in the search operation. It took around 11 hours to clear the highway to restore traffic.

A fresh landslide struck the highway at Shalgarh near Banihal late this afternoon, but was cleared within half-an-hour, having little impact on the movement of the traffic, another police official said.

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