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Bus accident kills 39 in Indian-controlled Kashmir


A passenger bus has slid off a Himalayan highway, killing at least 39 people and injuring 17 others after rolling down a steep slope onto another road in Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials say.

The 42-seater bus was on the way to southern Jammu city from Kishtwar town when it veered off the road and fell down about 200 metres on an older road in the mountainous region, civil administrator Harvinder Singh said.

Residents and authorities rushed to the scene and a rescue operation was launched.

Singh said the injured were taken to nearby health facilities while some in critical condition were transported to a hospital in Jammu.

The exact cause of the crash was not immediately known but police officer Sunil Gupta said the bus was overcrowded and speeding.

He said a formal investigation has been ordered.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on X called the accident "distressing" and offered condolences to the victims' families.

He also announced financial aid of Rs 200,000 (about $A3680) to each of the victims' families and Rs 50,000 for each of the injured.

India has some of the highest road death rates in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people killed and injured annually.

Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.