Kullu bus crash: More than 40 die in India gorge plunge

People carrying injured across a creek Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pictures from the scene showed volunteers forming a human chain to help survivors

At least 44 people have been killed in India after a bus plunged into a gorge, officials say.

Dozens more were injured in the accident on Thursday in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous northern state.

At least 60 people were on board when the packed bus veered off the road. Some passengers had been on the vehicle's roof.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was "deeply saddened".

The bus rolled off the road at a sharp and steep bend, then fell into a deep ravine.

Officials initially said at least 25 people had been killed. They then revised the figure, saying 19 more had died of their injuries.

Pictures from the scene showed the bus lying crumpled beside a stream, and a human chain of volunteers helping the survivors.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The bus crashed from a steep mountain road

Kullu police chief Shalini Agnihotri told AFP news agency that many of the victims were women and children returning from work and school.

Road accidents are a frequent occurrence in India, and rugged Himachal Pradesh state recorded more than 30,000 between 2009 and 2018.

According to the Times of India, more than 11,000 people were killed and around 54,000 injured there during that period.

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