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35 Indian pilgrims feared dead in Nepal bus crash

A bus possibly carrying 75 Hindu pilgrims skidded off a highway and plunged into a swollen river southwest of Kathmandu.

nepal bus pilgrims 7 15 2012Enlarge
Nepalese commuters travel atop of the buses along Arniko Highway in Kathmandu, February 20, 2008. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

A crowded bus has skidded off a highway and plunged into a river in Nepal killing at least 35 pilgrims, according to reports.

The crash reportedly occurred near the town of Parasi, 100 miles southwest of Kathmandu.

Those onboard, pilgrims from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, were on their way to bathe at the Hindu pilgrimage site of Triveni, according to CNN.

"They were here to attend the annual religious festival at Triveni and worship Lord Shiva, the Hindu god, on Monday morning," police officer Deepak Kumar Raya told Agence France-Presse.

Raya told AFP that about 75 people were on board the bus when it crashed and that rescuers had recovered 35 bodies from the monsoon-swollen River Gandak.

A police official, Gyan Bikram Shah, told The Associated Press that the roads that were slippery because of rainfall and that the driver had lost control.

The bus was so crowded that people were riding on the roof, he said.

Buses are often overcrowded in Nepal and accidents on poorly maintained mountain roads are common.

According to the AP, the driver may have survived the crash and fled.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/120715/nepal-india-bus-crash-hindu-pilgrims-dead-parasi-uttar-pradesh