13 August 2017
Kotrupi: a landslide in northern India kills at least 46 people
On Sunday 13th August 2017 a large landslide struck two buses at Kotrupi (sometimes spelt Kotropi) on National Highway 154, the road between between Mandi and Pathankot in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. As I write, rescue operations are ongoing, but to date 46 people are known to have lost their lives. A small number of people remain missing.
The landslide occurred in a period of extreme monsoon rainfall that has triggered landslides across a large swathe of the Himalayas in India and Nepal. News reports that both buses had stopped for a tea break when the landslide occurred a little after midnight. The vehicles were swept 800 m down the slope, and were buried by the debris.
This is the Google Earth image of Kotrupi / Kotropi on SH154:-
News reports suggest that the landslide damaged some houses, so if this is indeed the setting then the location is most likely to be in this area:-
Note the apparently unstable area defined by two smaller slides in the image, This may be a candidate for the disaster? This would seem to be in accordance with this image of the site, from News World India:
And this dramatic video of the site posted on Youtube by Deshvardhan Sharma:-
It is clear that this was a large, very dramatic landslide. It seems extraordinarily unfortunate that it happened when two buses were in the path of the debris. But buses in northern India are regularly struck by landslides. This extraordinary video shows an amazingly lucky escape when a bus was caught in a landslide at Pauri in Uttarakhand last week:
Somehow the bus remained upright in this case.