Rescuers in India combed through mud and debris Saturday in a frantic search for survivors as the death toll from multiple monsoon-triggered landslides reached 45, according to officials.
As many as 68 others were missing after heavy rains lashed India’s western coast, causing landslides that buried dozens of houses in hard-hit Raigad district, south of Mumbai. “Forty-three people have died in three landslides in the district… Rescue operations are continuing”, Sagar Pathak, a disaster management official in Raigad, told AFP. Fifty-three people were missing, he said, with many feared trapped under layers of mud following the accidents.
Earlier on Friday, state government spokesman Anirudha Ashtaputre told AFP that two others had died in Satara district due to landslides. Elsewhere in the state, up to 15 people were also missing, according to state authorities. The Navy, Army and Air Force sought to evacuate people stranded by flooding, but their operations were hampered by landslides blocking roads, including the main highway between Mumbai and Goa.
Water levels rose to 3.5 metres (12 feet) on Thursday in areas of Chiplun, a city 250 kilometres (160 miles) from Mumbai, following 24 hours of uninterrupted rain that caused the Vashishti river to overflow, submerging roads and homes.