A bus carrying a wedding party plunged into a large pond in India's remote northeast, killing at least 27 people, an official said Tuesday.

The bus was crossing a wooden bridge over the pond when it gave way and fell more than 15 feet (4.5 meters) into the water below, local magistrate S.K. Roy said.

The accident took place late Monday night near a village called Hajo, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state. Local villagers were the first to arrive on the scene and they pulled out 27 bodies. Eight people were rescued and are at a local hospital.

Family members who reached the accident site said there were 43 people on board the bus.

Police divers were searching for the remaining bodies, said Swapnanil Deka, a senior police official.

Thousands of villagers had gathered at the accident site.

The 27 bodies, shrouded in white cloth, had been laid out by the side of the pond, local television showed.

India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organization. More than 110,000 people die annually nationwide in road accidents, according to police figures.

The majority of accidents are caused by bad roads, speeding and poor vehicle maintenance.