Sixteen people, mostly students, were killed on Wednesday morning when a state-run bus fell into a gorge in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Forty five more were injured in the accident.
The bus, loaded with about 60 passengers, lost control as it tried to avert a collision with an auto-rickshaw, reports said. The rural service bus was on its way to Penugonda town from Madakasira.
Most of the deceased were between 16 and 20 years of age. The injured were rushed to Hindupuram, Anantapur, Kurnool and Bengaluru for treatment.
According to a student, the bus fell into a canyon about 30 feet below as the driver was speeding on the narrow stretch where construction work was in progress.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the incident.
The state government has announced compensation of `5 lakh for families of the deceased and `2 lakh for those severely injured. The locals also protested against the bad roads and condition of the buses.