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Search on for missing truckers caught in landslide

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Banihal: A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has joined an ongoing operation to locate three persons who are believed to have being buried alive following a landslide on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway last week, officials said on Sunday.

The landslide struck the highway last Monday at Battery Cheshma in Ramban district and the evidence at the scene suggested that an apple-laden truck, coming from Srinagar to Jammu, got caught in the landslide and rolled down into a 600-feet gorge near the site.

However, the fate of the occupants could not be ascertained even as rescuers reached the bed of the gorge near Bishlari nullah (stream) and recovered some mangled parts of the vehicle, Ramban Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Anita Sharma told PTI.

The officials said the search operation at the scene was intensified after a family from Punjab approached the authorities in Ramban on Wednesday, claiming that three persons aboard a truck, including the driver and his son, were missing while coming from Srinagar.

The SSP said an NDRF team joined the ongoing search operation and efforts were on to clear the debris at the bottom of a stream. “It is very challenging to reach the scene and all resources are being mobilised to search the area for the truckers.”

The rescuers, including volunteers from Ramban and Banihal, along with the state disaster response force (SDRF), are searching through the debris, the officer said adding that excavators had also been moved to the scene to speed up the search.

The army also used drones soon after the major landslide struck the highway to help police to locate the missing persons.

It took around 11 hours to clear the highway to restore traffic on the arterial road, the only all-weather link between Kashmir and rest of the country.

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