At least 23 schoolchildren were among those killed Monday in northern India after their bus skidded off the road and plunged about 300 feet.
The bus was ferrying the children home about 4 p.m. in the Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, according to Santosh Patial, superintendent of police.
The bodies of 27 people have been recovered, including two staff members, a bus driver and another woman. Search and rescue operations are over and 11 children were taken to two hospitals. Two of them were in critical condition.
The ages of the schoolchildren who died were between 4 and 12 years old.The bus, which belonged to a private school, was carrying about 34 children, officials said.
One surviving boy, 10-year-old Ranveer Singh, told The Hindustan times that he heard a loud bang and the bus started rolling down the side of the gorge. “Just then the window near my seat broke and I and a girl sitting by my side fell out,” he said.
Most of the children died from head injuries or suffocation. The bus was so badly crushed that workers had to “cut open the body of the bus” with rods and stones to rescue passengers.
India has one of the world’s highest traffic fatality rates, according to the World Health Organization. More than 207,550 people were killed in road accidents in 2013, according to United Nations statistics.
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