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India bus carrying opera troupe plunges off cliff

At least 25 people have died after a bus fell down a gorge in eastern India. The vehicle had been carrying 40 members of an opera troupe, with at least 25 reported to have died.

Police in India said Sunday that a bus carrying members of an opera troupe plunged into a gorge in a forest.

"Twenty-five bodies have so far been recovered and 11 injured persons, who are in a critical condition, rescued from the mishap site," Sarah Sharma, Deogarh district's superintendent of police told the Press Trust of India.

Firefighters and police had launched a rescue operation and some of the injured, including women and children, had been driven to Deogarh hospital.

Difficult terrain hampers recovery

Electric generators were being used to facilitate rescue operations in the dark, but hilly terrain, dense forest and low visibility were impeding rescue efforts, Sharma said.

Authorities believe the accident happened when the bus driver failed to negotiate a sharp turn on a rural road in the state of Orissa as it traveled between the districts of Deogarh and Bargarh, about 600 kilometers (372 miles) west of Kolkata.

Fatal traffic mishaps are common in India, which has

some of the world's deadliest roads.

There are more than 200,000 fatalities logged annually, according to the World Health Organization.

A passenger bus plunged off a bridge into a river in western India in February killing at least 37 people. And in October, 15 members of a wedding party, including three children, were killed when the vehicle they were travelling in collided with a bus in southern India.

jar/rc (AP, Reuters)

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