Two department of roads (DoR) workers and one private excavation operator, all men, died yesterday when a landslide buried them at Khalinggaon, which is about 22.5km towards Haa from Dorokha on the new Samtse-Haa national highway.

The incident occurred around 11am when they were cleaning a drain along the road. The landslide was caused due to incessant rain.

The two deceased who worked under DoR were both labourers, a 19-year-old from Mongar and a 39-year-old from Namgaychholing, Samtse. Both were working under the muster roll scheme and earned a wage of Nu 215 per day.

The 28-year-old machine (backhoe loader) operator was from Dumtey in Samtse. He operates the private excavation machine DoR had hired.

Dorokha drungpa Karma Jurmi, who visited the site with a team from police, gewogs, and DoR officials said the bodies were handed over to their respective families.

“Although they were still at the site due to block, they would be transshipped,” drungpa Karma Jurmi said.

He said that the Samtse-Dorokha road has been blocked between Halhaley and Dorokha due to landslides caused by heavy rainfall. The road is expected to open by noon today, he added.

The weather in upper regions of Samtse has not improved. It started raining on the night of July 22 and continued throughout the day yesterday.

This is the second fatal incident this monsoon in Samtse. In early morning of June 25, a landslide at Damphuchen village in Dorokha, washed away and buried a 11-year-old girl student along with her 65-year-old grandmother.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing