Six soldiers, civilian killed in Himachal building collapse

Six soldiers and a civilian were killed and 35 rescued after a four-storey building collapsed due to rain at Kumarhatti town of Himachal Pradesh, rescuers said on Monday.

It is believed that six-eight people are still tapped in the debris.

While 23 soldiers and 12 civilians were pulled out from the rubbles, the rescue operation by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Army and the state police has been on for over 16 hours.

The dead included building owner’s wife Archana.

According to officials, the incident took place on Sunday when soldiers, belonging to the Assam Rifles of nearby Dagshai Cantonment, were having their party at a roadside eatery-cum-residential complex which caved in due to heavy rain.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who is monitoring the operation from here, said soldiers and civilians were present in the building, located on the Kumarhatti-Nahan road, around 55 kms from Shimla.

Thakur, who has ordered a probe into the incident, is visiting the spot later in the day.

Deputy Commissioner K.C. Chaman said measures to rescue people trapped in the debris were on. The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals.

Locals blamed unscientific construction methods and violations in the granting of construction-sanction for the building collapse.