Jammu and Kashmir: Body of one of three missing Punjab truckers recovered in Banihal

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Srinagar: One of the three persons who had gone missing following a landslide on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district last week was found dead Wednesday, police said.

Search teams recovered the body this afternoon from the landslide spot at Battery Cheshma along Banihal-Ramban stretch, a police official said, adding search operation was still on to trace out the other two missing persons.

The landslide struck the highway on November 5 and the evidence at the scene suggested that an apple-laden truck, coming from Srinagar to Jammu, got caught in the landslide and rolled down into a 600-feet gorge near the site.

The fate of the occupants could not be ascertained even as rescuers reached the bed of the gorge near Bishlari nullah (stream) and recovered some mangled parts of the vehicle.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had joined the search operation on November 10. It intensified after a family from Punjab approached the authorities in Ramban claiming that three persons aboard a truck, including a man and his son, were missing while coming from Srinagar.

The rescuers, including volunteers from Ramban and Banihal, along with police and the state disaster response force (SDRF), were searching through the debris, braving the challenging situation, the official said.

The Army had also used drones soon after the major landslide struck the highway to help police to locate the missing persons. It took around 11 hours to clear the highway to restore traffic on the arterial road, the only all-weather link between Kashmir and rest of the country.

A fresh landslide struck the highway at Shalgarh near Banihal late this afternoon and efforts are on to clear the road, the police official said.

“The landslide is minor in nature and will take half an hour to clear,” he said.