At least nine people — including five children returning from a picnic — were killed and 40 injured after a bus crashed into another vehicle in Kerala state, southern India.
The incident occurred late on Wednesday in Palakkad district when a chartered tourist bus carrying the school pupils tried to overtake a car at high speed and hit a state-operated bus.
Both overturned on impact, trapping the passengers. The bus carrying the pupils then fell into a swamp.
Forty-one schoolchildren, five teachers and two employees were aboard one bus, after a leisure trip to the scenic Ooty hill station. At least 49 passengers were on the state-run bus that was travelling to Coimbatore in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu state.
At least 12 passengers were critically injured and 28 sustained minor injuries.
Television pictures showed the mangled remains of the vehicles as police and rescue teams tried to reach those trapped.
“Both the buses went off the road as a result,” said Kerala road transport minister Antony Raju. "A teacher was also killed in the accident."
One pupil told a local newspaper that the bus was travelling at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour when it hit the rear right side of the state-run bus and toppled over.
"There was blood everywhere," Abel Philip told Manorama News. "We do not know what has happened to some of our friends and teachers who were in bad shape."
Kerala's state government has launched an investigation to establish the cause of the accident.
On Tuesday, at least 25 people were killed after a bus carrying a wedding party fell into a mountain gorge in the Indian Himalayas, police said. About a dozen people are still missing.
More than 45 passengers were on board when the driver reportedly lost control and the bus swerved before plunging into a gorge in a remote, mountainous region of Pauri Garhwal in Uttarakhand state.