A bus packed with passengers traveling along a narrow road in southern Egypt plunged into an irrigation canal Sunday, killing 57 people, officials said.

Minya Governor Ahmed Diaa said the bus, with at least 70 passengers on board, swerved to avoid an oncoming pickup truck near a village close to the city of Minya, about 130 miles south of Cairo.

Rescuers on small boats searched the canal for passengers, and volunteers pulled bodies out of the water. A crane later lifted the bus out of the canal.

One survivor told the Egyptian private television station Dream that a boat came to get him and a friend after the bus plunged into the water, but many people were unable to get out of the bus.

The accident took place early Sunday at the end of a major Muslim holiday, when inter-city roads are crowded with returning vacationers.

Egypt has a history of serious bus and car crashes because of speeding, careless driving and poor road conditions. At least 8,000 people were killed in accidents in 2006, the most recent statistics available.

Sunday's incident is one of the worst road accidents in recent months.