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Landslide hits Indian village; 150 feared trapped

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 30, 2014 at 8:13 a.m.

NEW DELHI — Torrential rains triggered a huge landslide that buried a remote village in western India on Wednesday, sweeping away scores of houses and possibly trapping more than 150 people, officials said.

About 100 rescuers had reached the area, but continuing rains and bad roads were hampering rescue efforts and preventing reinforcements from reaching Ambegaon, a village in Pune district in Maharashtra state, said Alok Avasthy, a National Disaster Response Force commander.

The landslide hit the village early Wednesday morning, but details on the extent of the damage only began to trickle out several hours later, he said. Poor phone signals also were hampering the rescue operation. According to early reports, at least 40 homes were swept away.

"It's surrounded by hills and the area is very remote and rural, so it's taking us time to get there," Avasthy said.

Avasthy said he was leading a team of 150 rescuers but they were having trouble communicating with the first batch of 100 responders in the area. They were assisting local police and medical teams who began clearing the debris.

Local commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said more than 150 people could be trapped. However, officials did not have further information on the basis of the figure because of the difficulties with communications and attempts to reach the area.

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