Probe after 24 children die in India school bus plunge

A bus carrying schoolchildren rests in a gorge after leaving the road in India's northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, 9 April 2018 Image copyright HT Photo
Image caption The bus was reportedly carrying some 40 students when it left the road

An investigation has been launched after 27 people, most of them children, died when a school bus fell into a gorge in a mountainous region of India.

Most of the passengers were below the age of 10, police said. The bus driver and two teachers were also killed in the accident on Monday evening.

The incident occurred in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

Road accidents are common in India, often due to poor driving or badly maintained roads and vehicles.

The reasons behind the accident are not yet clear, according to an official statement.

Monday's accident, which occurred about 325km (200 miles) from the state capital, Shimla, involved a bus transporting some 40 students from Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Memorial school in Nurpur in the country's Kangra district.

Suraksha Devi, a resident of Nurpur, told BBC Punjabi that four of her grandchildren died in the accident.

"All I have left are photographs of them now," she said.

Image caption Backpacks of the children who were in the bus at the site of the accident

Eyewitnesses said the vehicle skidded as it turned a corner and left the mountainous road, India's ANI news agency reported.

India's National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) was called to the crash site and is continuing its efforts to reach any passengers trapped in the wreckage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office tweeted that Mr Modi was "anguished" over the news of the deaths.

"My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident," he is quoted as saying in the tweet.

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