At least 27 children die as bus falls into gorge in India

Driver reportedly lost control of vehicle when speeding on mountain road

Indian people take the injured to the hospital after a private school bus plunged off a cliff in Nurpur, Kangra district.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Indian people take the injured to the hospital after a private school bus plunged off a cliff in Nurpur, Kangra district. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

At least 27 children were killed when their school bus skidded off a mountain road into a gorge in the foothills of the Himalayas, officials have said.

Three adults were also killed in the crash, Himachal Pradesh state transport minister Govind Singh Thakur told the Press Trust of India news agency.

At least a dozen people were taken to hospital.

Initial reports indicated that the bus driver was speeding and lost control at the edge of the gorge, with the bus crashing some 60m (200ft) to the ground below, said police officer Sunil Kumar.

The incident occurred in the Kangra Valley, about 500km (300 miles) north of New Delhi.

India’s roads, particularly in the hills, have long been feared for their deep potholes and, very often, a lack of guardrails. Fatal accidents are common.

“I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives,” prime minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.

“My prayers and solidarity are with those who lost their near and dear ones.”

Rescuers were still digging through the wreckage after nightfall looking for more survivors, Mr Kumar said. – AP