GAUHATI, India – A bus carrying wedding guests veered off a road and plunged into a lake Thursday in northeastern India, killing at least 47 people, police said.
Another 27 passengers were injured after the bus, packed with more than 80 people, crashed into the lake near the town of Sarupeta in Assam state, said Bipin Bargohain, a police official.
The passengers were headed for a wedding in Goumura, a village 100 miles west of Gauhati, Assam's capital, when the driver lost control of the bus and swerved off the road, Bargohain said.
"The bus was pulled out by a crane and all 47 bodies found were trapped inside the bus," he said.
Villagers, police and army soldiers were searching the lake for more bodies. Anxious relatives of the dead and injured were searching hospitals in Sarupeta for their kin, the police officer said.
It was the first of two major bus accidents in the country Thursday. A few hours after the accident in Assam, a bus swerved off another steep mountain road and fell into a 330-foot gorge, killing at least 15 passengers and injuring 27, police said.
That accident occurred near the resort town of Nainital in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, said Alok Sharma, a top regional police official. The bus was on its way from the Indian capital, New Delhi, to Almora, a town in Uttaranchal state.
The police officer said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle as he negotiated a sharp turn and fell into the gorge. The driver escaped with minor injuries.
Road accidents claim thousands of lives every year in India, and most are blamed on reckless driving, aging vehicles and poor roads. Many passenger buses in far-flung areas are rickety and poorly maintained, and are often overcrowded.