Landslides triggered by cloudburst in northern India killed at least 48 people on Sunday (13 August), with authorities expecting the death toll to rise further.
Two government-run buses were caught in the landslide in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district, leading to the high casualty, according to local media reports.
"48 bodies have been recovered and of these 23 have been identified," an official reportedly told news agency Press Trust of India. It is being suspected that some other vehicles may have also been hit by the landslide, the person added, which could see the casualty figure go up further.
The landslide reportedly affected an area of more than 250m. In addition to sweeping away vehicles, the disaster also damaged several houses in the area. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded after the highway was closed following the landslides.
Rescue operations are set to resume on Monday after they were suspended the previous day over fears of more landslides, local officials told media.
D D Sharma, director of the state disaster management agency, said that some of the recovered bodies were mutilated and so a team of forensic experts had also been called at the site.
Police and disaster management teams were rushed to the spot to aid rescue work. The chief minister of the state, Virbhadra Singh, visited the affected area and said the rescue operation would continue until all the bodies were recovered.
He has also announced a compensation for the victims' families. Medical expenses for the injured victims will also be borne by the state, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to express his condolences for the loss of life in the incident. "Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in HP's Mandi district. My condolences with the families of the deceased: PM," he wrote.