At least 23 children killed when school bus plunges into gorge in India

23 children killed in India bus crash

NURPUR, India -- At least 23 children and four adults were killed in India when a school bus plunged into a deep gorge in the Himalayan foothills, authorities said Monday. Ten children were hospitalized with injuries.

Initial reports indicated the bus driver was speeding as he took the children home and lost control at the edge of the gorge. The bus fell about 200 feet, or 60 meters, to the ground below, said police officer Sunil Kumar.

The adults killed included the bus driver, two teachers and another woman, officials said. Most of the children, some as young as 4 years old, were believed to be in elementary school.

The crash occurred in the Kangra Valley about 300 miles, or 500 kilometers, north of New Delhi.

INDIA-ACCIDENT
People helping to rescue injured after a private school bus falls into a deep gorge in Nurpur, India, on April 9, 2018.  AFP/Getty Images

"We have identified all the children and parents have been informed about the disaster," police officer Ram Nath Singh told Reuters at the crash site.

The search for survivors ended late Monday night, with the bodies of the dead lying on the concrete floor of the Nurpur mortuary, covered by sheets.

India's roads, particularly in the hills, have long been feared for their deep potholes, reckless drivers and 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 with those who lost their near and dear ones."