Two Himachal roadway buses were hit by a massive landslide triggered by a cloudburst on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway, leaving eight passengers dead while the fate of 22 others was not immediately known.
Himachal Transport minister GS Bali said the toll could climb to 50 in the incident which took place last night. One of the buses was going from Manali to Katra and another from Manali to Chamba.
The buses had halted for a tea break at Kotrupi in the night when the tragedy struck, said special secretary (Disaster) D D Sharma.
The landslide swept away the road and the buses for almost 800 metres down into a gorge and there was no trace of one of the buses which was completely buried under the debris so far.
The number of passengers in the buses could be between 30 and 40 as the number of passengers who boarded the bus en route was not known.