Landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 43 people in three remote villages in northern India, a police official said Sunday.

Twenty bodies were pulled from the debris after the landslide Saturday buried the villages in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state, said S.M. Shamim, a paramilitary force commander.

He said 43 people "were buried alive under the debris."

Police and volunteers were digging through mud and rocks Sunday to recover the bodies of 23 others, he said.

Pithoragarh, in the Himalayan foothills, is about 310 miles northeast of the Indian capital, New Delhi. Extensive deforestation has made the region prone to landslides during monsoon rains.