Pune, July 30: At least 10 people were killed and over 150 trapped under a massive section of a hillock that came crashing down on a village of around 50 homes near Pune early Wednesday, officials said. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil said that officials have pegged the figure of dead at 10 with more than 150 others being trapped under the debris.
Police officer Vinod Pawar told media persons that the accident occurred in Malin village in Ambegaon tehsil of Pune, around 5 a.m., as heavy downpour loosened earth and dislodged rocks and boulders.
Heavy rain, which has lashed the picturesque region over the past four days, continued to hamper relief operations even today. Villagers from nearby villages, police, central and state disaster authorities, the army and political activists from different parties were engaged in a combined relief and rescue operation.
The estimated 150-plus villagers sleeping in their homes were caught unawares and many are feared trapped under the mud, boulders and debris, and the army has been requested to help, said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator and Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil in whose constituency the tragedy struck.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and their cabinet colleagues Harshvardhan Patil and Madhukarro Pichad went to the spot. At least 50 ambulances have been rushed from nearby towns while an entire ward has been kept ready for the victims at the Sassoon Hospital, Pune, around 120 km from the tragedy site.
District officials said that people in around half a dozen other villages in the hilly neighbourhood are being evacuated as a precautionary measure.