SHIMLA: At least 14 people, including 13 Army personnel, were killed and 28 injured after a four-storey building collapsed in Himachal Pradesh's Solan district, police said Monday.
The building, located on the Nahan-Kumarhatti Road, housed a restaurant and collapsed on Sunday evening after heavy rains, they said.
Eight bodies extricated so far from the debris, Solan Superintendent of Police Madhusudan Sharma said.
According to Solan Deputy Commissioner (DC) KC Chaman, at least 42 people were trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building of which 28, including 17 Army personnel and 11 civilians, have been rescued.
However, he said the actual number of those trapped inside would be clear only after the rescue operation ends, which is expected to be over by this evening.
An FIR has been lodged against the owner of the building, said Chaman.
"Around 17 Army personnel and nine civilians have been rescued so far. Two Army and one civilian casualty have been reported. 11 Army personnel are still feared trapped. The rescue operation is underway on war footing," he said.
Chaman also said an inquiry will be conducted to ascertain the cause of the mishap.
"It's a matter of inquiry as to how the building collapsed. This building was constructed in 2009, and a floor was added to it recently. An FIR against the owner has already been lodged. We will conduct an inquiry," he assured.
An injured soldier told reporters from the hospital that when the building collapsed, there were 35 Army personnel inside it, of whom 30 were Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and five were soldiers.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur visits the building collapse site in Solan. Around 17 Army personnel & 11 civilians rescued so far. 6 Army & 1 civilian casualties reported, 7 Army personnel are still feared trapped. pic.twitter.com/d713ic3T4j— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2019
He said the Army personnel belonging to 4 Assam Regiment of nearby Dagshai Cantonment went to the restaurant "to party as it was a Sunday but suddenly the building shook and collapsed in no minutes".
Another injured Army personnel, Rakesh Kumar, said that about 50 persons, including several army personnel, restaurant staff and other customers were in the building when it collapsed.
"We thought it was a quake and did not know how the building collapsed and we were trapped under the debris. I remained trapped for about 10-15 minutes after which some people rescued me," he added.
Solan Dy Commissioner KC Chaman on building collapse in Solan: Around 17 Army personnel & 11 civilians rescued so far. 6 Army & 1 civilian casualties reported, 7 Army personnel are still feared trapped. Search&rescue operation to be completed by today afternoon. #HimachalPradesh pic.twitter.com/knjLdXAMEY— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2019
The Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police initially carried out the rescue operation.
Subsequently, two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams -- one each from Haryana's Panchkula and Shimla's Sunni -- reached the spot later in the night to carry out the rescue work, Director-cum-Special Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management, D C Rana told PTI.
A third NDRF team from Panchkula joined the rescue operation on Monday morning, he said.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is visiting the spot and has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
(With ANI Inputs)