ILAM, Oct 2: Eight of the 14 people swept away by a landslide along the Mechi Highway on Sunday night were still missing till Tuesday night.
Although a joint team of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force (APF) and Nepal Army (NA) personnel, accompanied by local villagers, searched for the missing people from Tuesday morning, no bodies were found. "We found only some dismembered parts," said DSP Bishnu KC, Chief of District Police Office (DPO) of Ilam. On Monday, six dead bodies were recovered from the debris.
Five vehicles -- a truck, two pick up vans and two cars -- were swept away by the landslide in Kolbung VDC of Ilam district on Sunday night.
Of the six bodies found on Monday four have been identified as that of Saroj Tamang of Taplejung, Sharan Pradhan, Ravi Gupta and Chhiring Kesang Sherpa. According to the DPO Ilam, Tamang was the driver of the truck (Ko.1.Kha 1631). Similarly, Pradhan and Gupta were from Fikkal bazaar in Ilam, Sherpa was from India.
Sand excavation banned
A day after a massive landslide in the Harkate-Hanspokhari section of the Mechi Highway, an emergency meeting of the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee of Ilam on Tuesday banned sand excavation along the highway. According to Assistant Chief District Officer of Ilam Purushottom Ghimire sand excavation will not be allowed along the Ilam section of the Mechi Highway. "The ban will be effective in the areas between Sunmai and Ranke," Neupane said. He said that the ban was necessary to avoid landslides along the highway.
"I survived by clinging to the truck"
Roshan Tamang, a landslide survivor
I was driving a pick-up van ahead of a truck along the Mechi Highway on Sunday night. I saw some stones and boulders coming down from the roadside hill. I stopped the van. So did the truck. Ravi Gupta, of Fikkal bazaar, and my assistant Kumar Tamang were in the van. Shortly, more stones and boulders started falling on the road. Ravi panicked and jumped out of the van. Our van was buried under the debris of the landslide in no time. I and Kumar somehow managed to get hold of the truck. We clung to the truck until stones and boulders stopped falling over us and we just fled the landslide site. Soon, the truck was also swept away by the landslide. Had we not escaped the site on time, we might have also been buried in the landslide