At least 44 people, many of them women, died in a road accident on Tuesday when their bus plunged into a 200-feet-deep gorge in the northern Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh, police said, reported dpa.
The accident took place near the tourist destination of Kufri, about 16 kilometres north of Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla, where the bus was headed, an official at the police control room said.
The privately-owned bus had originated at Kotighat, about 70 kilometres north of Shimla, and had picked up passengers along the way.
"It was carrying about 49 to 50 passengers when the accident happened," Lalit Kumar at the police control room in Shimla said.
He said the cause of the accident was not clear. "The bus fell down the 200-foot gorge and was smashed completely," he said.
Five injured people have been rescued and admitted to a hospital in Shimla.
Search and rescue operations were on and bodies of the victims were being identified, Kumar said.
At least 130,000 people died in road accidents in India in 2007 accounting for about 10 per cent of the 1.2 million fatal road accidents worldwide.
Most of the accidents are blamed on reckless and negligent driving and poor maintenance of roads and vehicles.