27 school children killed as bus fall into gorge in Himachal Pradesh

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At least 23 schoolchildren were among those killed Monday in northern India after their bus skidded off the road and plunged about 300 feet, authorities said.

Just a week earlier, 16 pilgrims died in a bus crash in neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir state, while in April past year, 44 people were killed in a similar accident in Himachal Pradesh. This publication reports the Hindustan Times, citing local police.

Police say it appears the driver was speeding and lost control at the edge of the gorge before the bus rolled off the road.

Numerous victims belong to the class 5th and below of Wazir Ram Pathania Memorial Public School.

The bus was carrying more than 40 students. All the dead students were below the age of 10. Meanwhile, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, along with MLA Rakesh Pathania and Deputy Commissioner Kangra Sandeep Kumar reached the spot to supervise rescue and relief operations.

Kangra SP Santosh Patial said that among those killed also included the 67-year-old driver Madan Lal and two women teachers.

Twelve had been rushed to hospital, most in a critical condition.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has, meanwhile, ordered a high-level magistrate investigation into the accident. Himachal Pradesh education minister Suresh Bhardawaj was cited by news agency ANI as saying that 20 people died in the accident.

The state government said families of the deceased each will receive 5 lakh Indian rupees ($7,700 US).