Bus plunges off a bridge in India: 21 killed, 26 injured

A bus plunged off a bridge into a dry river bed on Wednesday, killing 21 people and injuring 26 others in northern India, police said.

The bus was speeding when the driver appeared to lose control of the vehicle, which veered off the bridge and plunged into the river near Rampur, a town in Uttar Pradesh state, police spokesman Ghulam Abbas said in the state capital, Lucknow.

Villagers and police pulled out 26 people, some of them with critical injuries, Abbas said. The injured were in hospitals in Rampur, 300 kilometers (185 miles) southwest of Lucknow.

At least 21 bodies had been retrieved from the bus, which was on an overnight run from New Delhi to the mountain town of Haldwani when the pre-dawn accident occurred, he said.

Road accidents claim thousands of lives every year in India. Most are blamed on reckless driving, aging vehicles and poor roads. Many buses in far-flung areas are rickety and poorly maintained, and are often overcrowded, reports the AP.

I.L.