Overcrowded bus tilts, plunges down a hill in Nepal; at least 30 killed

Bus plunges down hill in Nepal
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Story highlights

  • People were on the roof of the bus when it crashed, a police officer says
  • The vehicle tilted over and plunged 650 feet down a hill, he adds

(CNN)An overcrowded bus skidded off a road Tuesday in Nepal and plunged down a hill, killing at least 30 people and injuring 35 more, a government official said.

People were riding on the roof of the packed bus when it tilted over -- apparently because of the excess number of passengers -- on a gravel road, said Shiva Ram Gelal, chief district government officer in Nepal's Rasuwa district. The vehicle then slid about 650 feet (200 meters) down a hill.
    Nepalese military troops, police officers and locals carried out a rescue operation after the crash in Ramche, a village in Rasuwa about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Kathmandu, according to Gelal.
    Most of the injured have been taken a hospital in Rasuwa, while a few have been taken to a hospital in the Nepalese capital.
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    A fuel shortage in Nepal has hit public transportation hard, leading to fewer vehicles in service. As a result, those that are running are more likely to carry more riders than they should, the government official said.
    The mountainous Asian nation -- a place with plenty of narrow, windy roads that give way to cliffs -- has seen many deadly bus crashes like this one, some of them involving vehicles teeming with people.
    In January 2013, at least 30 people died after a bus hit a pole on the side of a road in Doti district and plummeted nearly 700 feet, police spokesman Ramesh Bahadur Dhanuk said then. A month earlier, 15 died in another crash in Nepal's Surkhet district.
    A driver apparently lost control around a "hairpin bend" in western Nepal's remote mountains in September 2012, sending his bus off a cliff and killing at least 29 people, according to police inspector Barun Bahadur Singh.
    And in October 2011, at least 40 people died when a bus plunged into an eastern Nepalese river, Kathmandu-based police spokesman Binod Singh said. Overcrowding may have caused that accident, the spokesman added.