• A van was thrown off the road, into a 400-ft gorge
  • A bridge collapsed after a huge boulder fell on it  
  • Authorities had warned tourists to stay away from the region due to heavy rains

Nine people died after a massive boulder broke off a mountain in India and crashed onto a van carrying tourists Sunday.

Terrifying visuals of the landslide that occurred in Sangla valley in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh show boulders raining down like artillery shells, before taking down a bridge in a single hit. Shooting stones were seen hitting several cars parked down the valley.

The van carrying tourists was pummeled by boulders. In the impact, the vehicle was knocked off the road into a 400-ft gorge. Two passengers, however, managed to jump off the vehicle, while the others were crushed to death, The Indian Express reported.

Though the local weather office had recently issued a landslide warning in Himachal Pradesh due to heavy rainfall, Sunday was a bright, sunny day and the landslide was unexpected.

The victims were returning from Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border, to the town of Sangla when the landslide occurred.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police swung into action along with the local people to carry out rescue operations. The bodies were retrieved and moved to a local hospital.

"The hilltop is highly prone to landslides. We have been observing the shooting stones from the hilltop for the last two days," a local elected representative told Hindustan Times.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences to the families. "An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh ($2,685) each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in an accident in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Rs 50,000 ($ 671) would be given to the injured," he said.

Himachal Pradesh and nearby areas are extremely prone to landslides during monsoons and high-intensity earthquakes.

Last week, a cloudburst was reported in the city of Dharamshala, which caused an intense flood. Various other parts of the state also experienced heavy rainfall and property damage. Following this, the government issued a travel advisory urging tourists to keep away till the weather improves.

India is currently witnessing heavy monsoon rains, which usually lasts from June to September.

Flooding and landslides are common during India's treacherous monsoon season between June and September
Flooding and landslides are common during India's treacherous monsoon season between June and September Indian Air Force (IAF) / -