Nepal bus crash kills 29 people and injures dozens

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People load their luggage on top of a long distance bus heading to their village for Dashain, Hinduism's biggest religious festival, at the bus station in Kathmandu 24 September 2014Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The Dashain festival sees Nepalese travelling across the country, mostly in buses, to celebrate with their families

An overloaded bus in western Nepal has plunged off a road into a gorge, killing at least 29 people and injuring dozens, police say.

Most passengers were reportedly travelling to meet their families to celebrate the Hindu Dashain festival.

Police said the bus was carrying more than 100 people, far more than it was supposed to have on board.

Officials said rescue operations were hampered by rain, according to the AFP news agency.

They are also attempting to find a passenger list, but the holiday season usually sees bus drivers picking up travellers without registering them.

The bus was travelling from Jorayal in Doti district to Dhangadi, about 800km (500 miles) west of Kathmandu, when the accident occurred.

Local and wire reports said it veered off a hilly road and fell at least 200m (656ft) into a gorge.

In January 2013, the same number of people were killed in the same area when a bus driver lost control on the road amid foggy conditions.

Bad roads and reckless driving are among the leading causes of road accidents in Nepal, says BBC Nepal's Surendra Phuyal.

In recent years, road accidents have claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people annually, says our correspondent.