Seventeen Indian pilgrims were killed and 28 injured when the bus they were travelling in plunged into a gorge on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital on Wednesday morning.
The victims, all from Gujarat, were returning to India after visiting Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu when the driver lost control of the bus and the vehicle went off the highway.
Twelve people died instantly while five more died later. The condition of five of the injured is critical and one passenger is missing, police said.
"The incident happened at 7:20am (7:05 IST) between Nagdhunga and Naubise, barely 5 kilometres from the Kathmandu city limits," said Basudev Ghimire, chief development officer of Dhading district.
"The bus bearing number GJ-14-X-9900 had two tiers and was carrying 45 passengers. The injured have been admitted at seven hospitals in Kathmandu," said a duty officer at the Nepal Police control room.
An initial investigation established that the accident occurred when the driver lost control and the vehicle plunged nearly 300 metres before coming to a halt on the banks of a river.
According to an update from the Indian embassy, the bus was operated by Sri Hari Tours and Travels from Gujarat. The identities of the dead and injured are yet to be ascertained.
"A team of consular wing officials have been deputed to the accident site to coordinate search and rescue operations and extend necessary assistance," the update said.
According to police, the victims were part of a large group of pilgrims from Gujarat who had come to visit Pashupatinath Temple. Other members of the group were in another bus.
Two helplines have been set in Kathmandu - +977 9851107021 and +977 1 4411027 – to provide information on the victims.