Dozens killed as bus falls into Indian mountain gorge
At least 48 people killed and a dozen injured after crash in Uttarakhand, officials say
At least 48 people have died after an overcrowded bus plunged off a mountain road into a gorge in northern India.
The bus fell into a gorge 200 metres deep in the Himalayan foothills, the chief minister of Uttarakhand state, Trivendra Rawat, said.
Police official Manoj Kumar said rescuers recovered 48 bodies from the accident site. People were packed like sardines, said another police officer, Jagat Ram Joshi. He said at least seven of the injured were in a critical condition.
Earlier, rescue and retrieval work was hampered by bad weather, said senior police official Sanjay Gunjiyal.
Police said the 28-seater bus was carrying about 60 commuters.
It was unclear what caused the crash. But Gunjiyal said bad weather could have led the bus to skid off the road.
It is raining since morning. Two days back there was a landslide in that area, he said, adding that local residents were the first to reach the site and help the victims.
Gunjiyal said the terrain was inhospitable and communications poor. Three choppers are waiting for clearance, he said. If the weather permitted it, these would be pressed into service to evacuate the injured to the states capital, Dehradun, he added.
India has the worlds deadliest roads, with more than 110,000 people killed annually. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.