Uttarakhand floods: Dramatic video shows rescuers using digger to pull family car free from landslide in India

At least 16 have died in northern state of Uttarakhand, while flooding in southern India has killed around 38

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 19 October 2021 14:25
Dramatic video shows rescuers using digger to pull family car free from landslide

A dramatic video captured the moment a digger was used to rescue a family trapped inside a car that was being swept away in gushing floodwaters following a landslide in India’s rain-battered Uttarakhand state.

Officials said that during Monday’s incident a car with passengers inside got caught in raging waters in the Lambagad nallah (ravine) near Badrinath National Highway. The terrifying visuals showed a car wedged between two huge boulders as strong floodwaters passed beneath it.

Several rescue workers were seen standing by the earth-mover to help in the operation and the was eventually pulled to safety by rescuers from the federal Border Road Organisation.

At least 16 people have died in Uttarakhand’s floods while several people are missing, state chief minister Pushkar Dhami told ANI.

The hilly state has been hit by a deluge of incessant rain for the last three days, causing landslides, cloud bursts and flooding in the region which was seeing an influx of tourists and pilgrims at the time after a relaxation of Covid restrictions.

“Due to heavy rains, the rescue team is facing difficulty but we will rescue everyone. The metrological department has also said that from today the rain will be less. We appeal to all the people to not travel till the situation is normal,” Mr Dhami said.

The Uttarakhand administration has temporarily halted pilgrimage travel amid the ongoing situation.

The Badrinath national highway in Chamoli district, which links up with a major Hindu pilgrimage site at Badrinath, has been completely blocked with debris following a landslide and incessant rains for over two days,  the district administration said on Tuesday.

About 50 stranded people, including Hindu devotees, were rescued on Monday in an overnight operation after some got stuck while returning from another pilgrimage site at Kedarnath.

There were reports of several rivers and dams breaching their banks and overflowing into cities. In Nainital, a popular tourist destination in the Himalayan foothills, the famous Naini lake overflowed into streets and lakeside properties, including tourist shops, restaurants and hotels.

Officials said three roads leading to the town were all blocked due to landslides, leaving Nainital cut off from the rest of the state and hampering rescue work.

Flash floods were also triggered in the Ramgarh town of Nainital district after a cloudburst incident was reported. It has led to incidents of wall collapse and a number of people are feared trapped under the debris.

Another video, which is being widely circulated on social media, showed an elephant stranded on a patch of land amidst the swollen Gaula river between Halduchaur and Lalkuan. Forest department officials were alerted and said they would undertake a rescue operation.

The severe weather in the northern state comes as the death toll soared to 38 in flooding-related incidents in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The State Disaster Force said that the floods have destroyed 90 houses, and partially damaged more than 700 others. Incidents of roads, bridges and houses collapsing were reported in several parts of the state.

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