South Asia

Pakistan school bus plunges into river killing children

At least 15 school children have been killed when a school van plunged into a river in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, officials say.

They say that 20 others, including two female teachers, are still missing.

The incident took place in Garhi Dupatta area, some 16km (9.9 miles) south-east of the regional capital Muzaffarabad.

Police say the van plunged some 300 meters to 400 metres from the road into the river.

Local people began rescuing the children before police and the army arrived on the scene, witnesses say.

Recovered alive

They said that there were about 30 to 35 children and two teachers in the van at the time of the accident.

The driver of the van was injured and taken to hospital, police said.

Chaudhry Imtiaz, a top official in Muzaffarabad, told BBC Urdu that rescuers had so far recovered the bodies of 15 children from the Jhelum river.

Four children were recovered alive and two are seriously injured, he said.

Mr Imtiaz said that the search is on for the remaining children and their two teachers.

Bad roads, faulty vehicles, passenger overloading and speeding on treacherous mountainous roads cause frequent road accidents in Kashmir.

In August, at least 52 people were killed and many others injured when bus plunged into a river near Muzaffarabad.

Most roads of the region were destroyed in the earthquake of 2005.