At least 49 members of a wedding party are feared dead after a flash flood overturned a bus carrying them in the frontier Rajouri district of Indian-administered Kashmir, as heavy rain has caused flooding that has killed 20 other people.
“A massive operation is on to recover the bodies from the flooded stream. However, our efforts are being hampered by heavy rains and strong currents,” said Jatinder Singh, a Rajouri district magistrate.
He said the bus was carrying more than 50 passengers. “Some passengers managed to jump off the bus. … The exact number of passengers is not known yet. I don’t think there will be any survivors now,” he added.
Heavy rain has been falling in Indian-administered Kashmir since Tuesday. The weather has put government authorities on high alert.
Many villages and urban areas, including capital of Srinagar, have been inundated, with all waterways flowing above their danger marks.
According to an official statement, flooding has claimed 20 other lives so far, and 50 homes have been damaged across the state.
More than half a million sandbags have been prepared, the statement said, adding that people in flood areas are being told to move to safety.
The Indian air force has been asked to keep an air rescue plan in place, the statement said.
The local meteorological office has forecast no change in the weather until late Friday.