Rescuer among 7 killed in Raigad hillslide, 80 more still trapped

 - Sakshi Post

Raigad, July 19 (IANS) Six villagers and a rescue team member were killed when a portion of a 550-metres hillock crashed on a large part of the Irshalwadi tribal village near Khalapur in Maharashtra's Raigad district, officials said here on Thursday.

The incident happened late on Wednesday. Around 10 persons were rescued from the slush and stone while another 80 people are still feared trapped with a massive rescue operation on a war-footing mounted to rescue them.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde rushed to the tragedy spot -- around 100 kms from Mumbai -- and monitored the situation, while Deputy CM Ajit Pawar was stationed at the State Disaster Management Centre.

According to state government officials, the disaster occurred around 11.45 p.m. on July 19 when the region was lashed by torrential rain.

A portion of the tall hillock, over 550 metres high, under which the tribal village nestled, suddenly crashed on Irshalwadi, crushing an estimated 30-40 hutments and trapping the residents in them.

According to Pawar, the Irshalwadi village population was 228 of which more than 100 people have been affected by last night's tragedy.

On learning of the disaster, Raigad district administration and police, SDRF, NDRF teams rushed to the spot and launched a massive rescue operation as rains continued.

The hilly terrain with huge boulders and stones scattered hampered the rescue teams who could work only with hammers to save the people as the clock ticked away.

This morning Shinde reviewed the situation and in view of the difficulties encountered in the hazardous terrain as cranes and heavy machinery cannot be taken there for the rescue operation. He said two helicopters would be deployed for the rescue mission.

Pawar said that while choppers are ready for the mission, they would not be able to land in the region due to the stormy weather conditions.

Several ministers, police and civilian officials from different departments and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and Panvel Municipal Corporation have also rushed to the site.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up Shinde and took details of the tragedy, and has also offered any type of help as the state government may require.

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the rescue operation is being hampered on various counts but all efforts are underway to save the people trapped in the slush and stones.

Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh President Umesh Zirpe said that around 60 mountaineers have joined the search and rescue operations there through theMaharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre (MMRCC).

"This hill with the Irshalgad Fort is a popular trekking point and the ill-fated Irshalwadi village was situated just below the rocky cliffs that crashed," Zirpe told IANS from Pune.

The IMD has issued Red or Orange alerts for districts of Palghar, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhdurg till Saturday as incessant rain continued to pound the coastal regions since Monday.

Shinde announced a compensation of Rs 5,00,000 to the kin of each deceased victim and treatment at government expense for the injured in the calamity.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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