At least 48 dead after bus crashes into gorge in northern India

At least seven other people were injured in the crash in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand

At least 48 dead after bus crashes into gorge in northern India

In this grab made from video provided by KK Productions, shows the area of a deadly bus accident in Uttarakhand's Paudi Garhwal district, northern India. Picture by: KK Production/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 14.30

At least 48 people have died following a crash which saw a bus plunge off a Himalayan mountain road and into a 700ft-deep ravine, officials have said.

Police say a rescue operation is ongoing to reach casualties and that others are injured after the accident in the Pauri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand, northern India.

The 28-seater bus, which was travelling from Bhoan to Ramnagar, was carrying around double the amount of passengers, officials said.

At least seven other people are believed to be critically injured.

"People were packed like sardines," said police officer Jagat Ram Joshi.

Trivendra Rawat, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, said the bus skidded and fell into a 700ft (213m) deep gorge.

Senior police official Sanjay Gunjiyal said 20 bodies had so far been pulled out of the wreckage, but that rescue work was being hampered by bad weather.

The cause of the crash is not yet known but Mr Gunjiyal said rain could have caused the bus to skid off the road.

He said: "It is raining (in the area) since morning. Two days back there was a landslide in that area."

Residents were the first on the scene to help the victims, he said.

India's Minister of Home Affairs tweeted to say his thoughts are with the families of the victims:

More than 110,000 people are killed every year on India's deadly roads.

Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.