20 killed as bus falls into Nepal river (Lead)September 10th, 2009 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Sep 10 (IANS) Twenty passengers died and dozens more are feared to have perished as an overcrowded bus plunged into a river in northern Nepal Thursday, in the worst road accident in the Himalayan republic this year.
Police in Sundhupalchowk district said the accident occurred in a village called Sukute while the bus was heading towards Kathmandu.
Carrying about 60 passengers, it veered off the road and fell almost 30m below into the swirling Sunkoshi river, fed with heavy rain in the past few days.
Though boats trawled the river for survivors, by evening only four people had been found alive with no signs of dozens of passengers.
Police said 20 bodies have been found. Most of the victims are yet to be identified.
The toll, it is feared, would rise as dozens of passengers are missing still.
The remoteness of the village as well as the strength of the river current had made rescue work difficult and hazardous, police said.
Nepal has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world with bad roads, old vehicles and reckless drivers contributing to it.
Most public buses are overcrowded defying safety regulations with people crammed on the roof during the eve of festivals.
The worst road accident occurred in Dang district in western Nepal last year when 43 people were killed.
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Tags: boats, dang, dozens, eve, festivals, few days, heavy rain, himalayan, nepal river, northern nepal, public buses, reckless drivers, road accident, road accidents, safety regulations, signs, survivors, western nepal