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30 killed as bus plunges off cliff in Nepal

By Manesh Shrestha, For CNN
  • Bus plunges off cliff into river in Nepal killing at least 30 people
  • Around 50 passengers believed to be on board when bus crashed and split into three
  • Police, army officers pulled bodies from the Karnali River
  • Accidents are common in Nepal due to poorly maintained buses and roads
  • Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- An overcrowded bus plunged off a cliff and fell 200 meters (656 feet) into a river in western Nepal Thursday, killing at least 30 people, police said.

Ten others were seriously injured in the accident in the remote mountains, which left the bus in pieces in the snow-fed Karnali River, one of the largest in Nepal.

"The bus has broken into three pieces and the bodies were pulled out from the river and the bus," police officer Raj Kumar Thing told CNN in a phone interview from Dailekh district, about 400 km (249 miles) west of Kathmandu, where the accident took place.

Among the dead are eight women, a baby girl and 21 men, and the toll may go up, he said.

About 100 police and army personnel are involved in the rescue operations.

The overcrowded bus, which was believed to be carrying about 50 passengers, was traveling on a dirt road and apparently plunged down the cliff after it failed to climb a steep incline.

Poor road conditions, badly maintained and overcrowded buses and rash driving cause frequent accidents in the mountains of Nepal, authorities have said.