x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

48 killed in road accidents in India

A series of road accidents kills at least 48 people and injures another 64 in north and north-eastern India.

NEW DELHI // A series of road accidents killed at least 48 people and injured another 64 in north and north-eastern India today, government officials and police said. At least 20 people were killed in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand when the bus they were travelling in fell into a 152-metre-deep gorge, Amit Chandola, a government spokesman said. The bus was carrying about 40 passengers and plunged as the driver tried to negotiate a turn on the curving mountain road, he said, adding that 20 people have been rescued so far.

Of those rescued, 15 people were injured, at least six of them seriously, he said, adding that the number of casualties may increase. In another accident in Uttarakhand, five people were killed when the jeep they were travelling in rolled down a hill, Mr Chandola said. Five other passengers were injured, three of them seriously, he said. In the north-eastern state of Assam, an overcrowded, speeding bus crashed into a stationary lorry, killing 23 people and injuring 44 others, police said.

The bus was carrying labourers to work before dawn in the state's Dhubri district some 300km west of the state capital, Gauhati. "The bus carrying 67 passengers hit a stationary potato-laden lorry with great speed, leading to the fatalities," said the Dhubri police chief Parthasarathi Mahanta. He also said the driver of the bus, which had a capacity of just 35, lost control and collided with the parked lorry, reducing both vehicles to "a mass of mangled steel".

The injured have been taken to hospitals in the area, he said. Deadly road accidents are common in India, often caused by ageing vehicles, overloading and reckless driving. *AP