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Hope of finding survivors fades as landslide death toll hits 63

Indian villager Chandrakant Zhanjare, who lost 13 members of his family, breaks down as he sits near the spot which was once his ancestral home. Picture: Getty

Indian villager Chandrakant Zhanjare, who lost 13 members of his family, breaks down as he sits near the spot which was once his ancestral home. Picture: Getty

RESCUE workers searching for dozens of people still missing after a landslide in western India said yesterday sniffer dogs and machines to detect signs of life were all but useless in 15ft of heavy mud and debris.

At least 63 people, including nine children, died when a landslide engulfed Malin village, in the Pune district of Maharashtra state, about 95 miles south-east of Mumbai, on Wednesday.

Rescuers said the chances of finding anyone alive were increasingly slim. “We are finding it very difficult to use life-detectors or trained dogs because of conditions on the ground,” local official Shekhar Shinde said.

Pramila Lende and her three-month-old son were pulled alive from the rubble hours after the landslide. Ms Lende said she had been feeding her baby when she heard the roar of earth and mud ripping down the hillside.

“I started running with my child but a heap of mud landed on me,” she said.

She said she cowered with her baby in a breathing space under the mud and was rescued when his cries alerted searchers. No-one has been pulled out alive since Wednesday night.

Landslides are common during Indian’s monsoon season from June to September.

The area around the village has been extensively deforested, making it more prone to landslips.

 

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