A bus in northern India carrying at least 60 passengers in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh plunged into a river killing dozens Thursday. Local media are reporting conflicting death tolls.
The bus was traveling to Manikaran from Barnala in Punjab when it fell into the Parvati River, the Indian Express reported. The outlet said nearly 30 people had died and at least 18 survived with injuries. Local daily newspaper North Gazette reported that 40 passengers drowned while 20 survived.
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It wasn't immediately known what caused the crash. However, heavy rains and flash flooding in Himachal Pradesh created dangerous driving conditions as several roads were washed away in the Kullu district, according to a report by International Business Times India.
“Initial investigations suggest that the bus driver failed to negotiate a sharp turn due to which the bus fell into the river,” police sources said, according to North Gazette, adding that rescue efforts were hampered because the bus was submerged.
Police officials said search and rescue efforts were underway and that at least 10 bodies were recovered with the help of civilians.
Bus accidents are relatively common in Himachal Pradesh. In April, in Nerwa, in Himachal Pradesh, eight people died and 12 were injured when a bus rolled down about 330 feet into a gorge. The bus was traveling to Tuni from Vikasnagar and was passing through Nerwa when it crashed, India Today reported at the time. Three years ago, an overcrowded bus driving through the region also fell into a gorge, killing 51 people and injured 46.