At least seven people, including six Army personnel, were killed and 28 injured after a four-storey building collapsed in Himachal Pradesh”s Solan district, police said Monday.
The building, located on the Nahan-Kumarhatti Road, housed a restaurant and collapsed on Sunday evening after heavy rains, they said.
The bodies of six Army personnel and a civilian have been extricated so far from the debris, Solan Superintendent of Police Madhusudan Sharma said.
At least seven persons are still feared trapped under the debris, Solan Sub Divisional Magistrate Rohit Rathore said.
According to Solan Deputy Commissioner (DC) K C Chaman, at least 42 people were trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building of which 28, including 17 Army personnel and 11 civilians, have been rescued.
However, he said the actual number of those trapped inside would be clear only after the rescue operation ends, which is expected to be over by this evening.
An injured soldier told reporters from the hospital that when the building collapsed, there were 35 Army personnel inside it, of whom 30 were Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and five were soldiers.
He said, the Army personnel belonging to 4 Assam Regiment of nearby Dagshai Cantonment went to the restaurant “to party as it was a Sunday but suddenly the building shook and collapsed in no minutes”.
Another injured Army personnel, Rakesh Kumar, said that about 50 persons, including several army personnel, restaurant staff and other customers were in the building when it collapsed.
“We thought it was a quake and did not know how the building collapsed and we were trapped under the debris. I remained trapped for about 10-15 minutes after which some people rescued me,” he added.
The Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police initially carried out the rescue operation.
Subsequently, two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams — one each from Haryana”s Panchkula and Shimla”s Sunni — reached the spot later in the night to carry out the rescue work, Director-cum-Special Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management, D C Rana told PTI.
A third NDRF team from Panchkula joined the rescue operation on Monday morning, he said.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is visiting the spot and has ordered an inquiry into the incident.