44 die after bus plunges off Indian mountain road

A bus yesterday plunged down a ravine and into a river in northern India, killing 44 people.

The vehicle, with 46 passengers on board, swerved off a mountain road in Himachal Pradesh, about 70 miles (115 kilometres) from the state capital, Shimla.

Deputy commissioner of Shimla, Rohan Chand Thakur, told the AFP news agency there were “only two survivors, including the conductor of the bus who managed to jump out in time”.

“We are now bringing the last four bodies out,” he added.

Senior police superintendent of Shimla, DW Negi, said the dead included 11 women and three children. According to local TV, the bus driver told passengers shortly before the accident that the vehicle’s suspension was damaged.

India prime minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted: “Extremely anguished by the loss of lives due to the bus accident in Himachal Pradesh. “Condolences to the families of the deceased.” He added that the families of those killed would receive compensation of 200,000 rupees (£2,400), while there would be 50,000 (£600) for the injured. There are more than 150,000 deaths a year in India because of badly maintained vehicles, poor roads and reckless driving.

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