Shimla – At least 55 people were killed in two separate bus accidents in Nepal and India, police in both countries said on Tuesday.
In northern India at least 28 people were killed when a heavily overloaded bus plunged into a gorge, police said.
The bus, which was carrying more than 45 passengers - many of them on the roof - veered off the road in a sparsely populated and hilly area of the state of Himachal Pradesh on Monday night.
"Twenty-eight bodies have been found and five people have been injured in the accident," Diljeet Thakur, district superintendent of police, said, adding the death toll could rise because many people were still missing.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known but one woman who survived said that the driver had lost control of the vehicle on a sharp bend.
The accident occurred near the scenic Kangra valley, about 250km from state capital Shimla. The area is treacherous and known for zig-zag turns.
High road death rate
Villagers were the first to reach the scene of the accident and frantically struggled to pull the dead and injured from the twisted wreckage.
Last month, 52 people were killed and 45 were injured in Himachal Pradesh, in one of the worst road accidents in India in recent years.
India has the one of the highest annual road death tolls in the world, with more than 110 000 people killed in accidents last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Meanwhile, at least 27 people were killed and 11 injured when a bus veered off a narrow mountain road in western Nepal, a police officer said.
The vehicle tumbled down a hillside onto a riverbank after the driver lost control on a sharp bend on the Karnali highway, police inspector Barun Bahadur Singh said from the crash site.
"We have recovered 27 dead bodies. Eleven injured passengers are undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Among them, two are in critical condition. The bus has been broken into pieces," he said.
The accident occurred in the dark on Monday evening in the mountainous district of Kalikot.
Accidents are relatively common on Nepal's highways because of poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.
On Sunday, a speeding bus plunged off a mountain road in central Nepal, killing 13 people.
In July, 38 pilgrims were killed when an overcrowded bus plunged into a deep river in the southwest.