44 dead after bus plunges into gorge in India

A senior government official says 44 people have been killed after a bus swerved off a mountain road and plunged into a deep gorge in northern India's Himachal Pradesh state.

Vehicle fell some 200 metres near Tons river in Himachal Pradesh

Indian rescue personnel and volunteers stand amid wreckage and victims after a bus accident, at the bottom of a ravine near the Tons river. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Forty-four people were killed after a bus swerved off a mountain road and plunged into a deep gorge in northern India's Himachal Pradesh state on Wednesday, a senior government official said.

Only two people, including the ticket checker, survived the crash, according to Rohan Chand Thakur, the district magistrate of Shimla district.

Thakur said the bus fell into a 200-metre deep gorge on the Tons river and the cause of the accident wasn't immediately clear.

He said that rescue teams were working to recover the wreckage from the gorge.

Driver fatigue, negligence, poor quality roads and vehicle maintenance are the usual causes of such accidents in India.

Police figures show India has the world's highest road accident death toll, with more than 110,000 people dying each year in crashes.