Sydney - Twenty-four people were killed when a bus plunged off a cliff into a river bed in the rugged western highlands of impoverished Papua New Guinea, a report said on Thursday.
The National newspaper, which published a picture of the bodies lined up outside the Mt Hagen provincial hospital, said two others were critically injured in the accident on Wednesday.
It said 17 men, six women and a five year-old girl died when the bus rolled 50m down the cliff as it was travelling from Baiyer to Mt Hagen to pick up a coffin holding a dead tribesman.
Kuri Rani said he was supposed to travel on the bus but decided not to at the last minute.
"They are my people from the Epika tribe... and it's a big loss to the rest of my tribesmen," he told the newspaper.
"We were all travelling into town to pick up a casket and didn't know such a thing would happen."