ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A school bus crash in India has left at least 30 people dead, including 27 children, local officials said on Monday.
Three adults and 27 children were killed when the school bus they were on slipped off a mountain road into a gorge in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Associated Press reported.
Himachal Pradesh state transport minister Govind Singh Takur, quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency, confirmed the death of the children, adding that a dozen other people were taken to local hospitals.
Police officers arriving on the scene said early investigations suggested the bus driver was traveling at a high speed before losing control at the edge of the gorge. Police said the bus crashed approximately 200 feet (60 meters) off the valley before hitting the ground below.
The accident occurred in the Kangra Valley, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of New Delhi.
Fatal accidents are common in the hill regions of India where roads have deep potholes and maintenance is neglected. Reckless drivers and a lack of guardrails are other causes for crashes in the area.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his condolences to the victims of the accident in a tweet.
“I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives,” Modi wrote. “My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones.”
According to local authorities, rescue teams deployed to the area were still searching for more survivors, digging through the rubble through nightfall.
Latest government data reveals that India has the world’s deadliest roads, with nearly 15,000 people killed in road accidents in 2015.