Rescuers have retrieved one more body from the scene of the landslide that hit the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, taking the death toll in the incident to two, officials said on Sunday.
Eight persons were rescued in the overnight operation. Traffic on the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, was also restored after remaining suspended for nearly 12 hours, the officials said.
The landslide struck the highway at Seeri near Ramban town around 6:15 pm on Saturday, causing damage to a total of 10 vehicles, mostly trucks and excavators engaged in an ongoing four-laning highway project.
Several vehicles, including a mini-load carrier, were buried under the debris, prompting a massive rescue operation which continued throughout the night under the supervision of deputy commissioner Ramban, Nazim Zai Khan and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ramban, Haseeb-Ur-Rehman, the officials said.
While the body of 25-year-old Raj Kumar was recovered soon after the landslide, 19-year-old Khalid Hussain was found dead under the debris by rescuers comprising police and local volunteers late Saturday night, they said, adding both the deceased were locals engaged in the four-laning project.
The officials said eight more persons were rescued and have been admitted to a local hospital. The rescuers also located the excavator which was buried under the debris and found that no one present inside the earthmoving machine, they said, adding the rescue operation was subsequently called off.
Over 800 vehicles, mostly trucks carrying essential commodities to the valley, were stranded overnight on the highway due to the landslide.