People search for bodies at the spot hit by the landslide at Tamabung on Monday. Picture by Prabin Khaling
Gangtok, Sept. 2: Four members of a family and a guest were killed when a landslide hit their wooden house at Tamabung in West Sikkim last night.
The bodies of the five were pulled out of the debris today and a Himalayan black bear, which was suspected to have taken shelter somewhere near the house, was also found buried.
The deceased included Indra Maya Rai, 55, her son Sajan Rai, 18, his wife Deshu Maya Rai, 18, and the couple’s two-month-old daughter Deshu Hang Rai. Bir Bahadhur Subba, a 64-year-old faith healer who had come to the house to treat the child, also died in the incident.
All the five were believed to be asleep when the house was hit by landmass and mud at 9.30pm. The house was completely destroyed in the landslide that was caused by continuous rain in Tamabung since yesterday morning. Tamabung is 25km from West District headquarters, Geyzing.
Indra Maya’s husband, D.B. Subba, was at his elder son’s house in Gangtok for medical treatment when the tragedy struck his family. He reached the spot this morning.
A team headed by West collector L.P. Tewari arrived at Tamabung to monitor the situation. “A district disaster management team, SSB personnel, Sikkim police and villagers searched for the missing persons at midnight after the landslide. The body of Indra Maya was recovered around 1am. The other bodies were found at 11am,” said Tewari.
A team of doctors conducted post-mortem on the bodies at the spot and final rites were also held today.
The collector said incessant rainfall had led to the landslide. “The house was located in an isolated area. The body of a Himalayan black bear was also recovered from the debris in the morning. It seems the bear had taken shelter somewhere near the house,” said Tewari.
An official in the meteorological department in Gangtok said the village didn’t have a rain gauge and it was not possible to give the quantum of the shower.
Tewari said the next of kin of the deceased would be given ex-gratia according to government rules.