1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Indian mudslide search continues

July 31, 2014

Rescue workers have continued to search through the debris following a mudslide in western India that killed dozens of people. The search is being hampered by the sort of torrential rain that set off the mudslide.

Erdrutsch Indien Malin Unwetter
Image: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said on Thursday that 41 bodies and eight survivors had been pulled from the rubble of a mudslide that buried or damaged around half of the homes in the remote village of Malin in the Pune district of Maharashtra state on Wednesday.

The commander of the NDRF team of 250 disaster response workers at the scene said they believed that as many as 160 people remained trapped.

"The mudslide must have been massive and very quick considering it has covered an area roughly the size of a football field with nearly 10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters) of debris," Alok Avasthy told the AFP news agency.

While it was expected that most of what they would pull from the rubble would be dead bodies, Avasty said that despite the fact that the mudslide happened more than 24 hours ago, they had not given up hope of finding more survivors.

"Miracles do happen, we will keep looking, but under current conditions it is very, very bleak," he said.

Ongoing downpours

The rescue effort, which has also been joined by surviving local villagers, was being hampered by ongoing downpours and heavy winds.

The NDRF brought in a dog team to help in the search for survivors, but it has not yet been deployed as the animals can not effectively pick out scents in the rain.

Landslides are common in the region between June and September, which is the monsoon season.

Pune district is located around 150 kilometers, (95 miles) southeast of Mumbai.

pfd/hc (AP, AFP)