Bus falls into gorge in western India; over 30 feared dead

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More than 30 people are feared dead after a bus fell into a deep gorge in western India, an official has said.

The vehicle was carrying 34 employees of Dapoli Agriculture University on Saturday when it plunged off a mountain road in Raigad district of Maharashtra state. 

It was heading to the popular hill station in Mahabaleshwar for a picnic, Vijay Suryawanshi, a senior Raigad district administrator, told AFP news agency. 

The bus rolled down a mountain road in Ambenali Ghat, near Poladpur town. A team from the National Disaster Response Force was sent to help victims.

According to local media reports, a dozen ambulances and 15 doctors arrived at the scene of the accident. 

One man survived after he leaped from the bus and then climbed back to the road to inform university officials about the accident, Suryawanshi said.

Rescue teams had so far recovered nearly a dozen bodies amid intermittent rains in the area. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the accident on Twitter. 

Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis also gave his condolences and said the government was doing everything it could do to help.

India has the world’s deadliest roads, with more than 110,000 people killed annually.

Early this month, 48 people were killed and 11 injured when an overcrowded bus spun off a slippery road and fell into a deep ravine in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.

Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and ageing vehicles.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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