Shimla: As many as eighteen persons have been killed and more than 25 have received injuries after a bus fell into a gorge near Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh on Saturday afternoon.
Over speeding was the cause of the accident, said the police.
The ill-fated bus with over 45 persons on board was enroute to Kullu town from Mandi when it fell into the river near Bindravani, some 175 km from the state capital, on National Highway 21.
Superintendent of Police P.K. Thakur said 18 persons died in the accident.
He told IANS that the injured have been admitted to the Zonal Hospital in Mandi.
The toll could increase as most of the injured were in critical condition, a police official said.
The bus has been retrieved from the river.
Witnesses told police that the driver, who was overtaking a truck, lost control over the vehicle while saving a motorcyclist from a head-on collision.
A survivor told the police that the cause of the accident was over speeding and bad condition of the road.
It took hours for rescuers and the police to climb down the mountain and bring up the bodies. Eyewitnesses said the administration had a tough time in extricating the victims from the bus, although locals and passersby started the rescue operations before the authorities could reach the spot.
14 dead & over 25 injured after a bus falls into a gorge near Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, rescue ops underway pic.twitter.com/9yTvS1BO3M
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 5, 2016