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22 killed in west Nepal bus crash

world Updated: Aug 21, 2007 05:14 IST

IANS
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At least 22 people were killed in western Nepal on Monday when the bus they were travelling in fell off a road in a thickly forested area, making rescue operations difficult.

The bus was heading west from Butwal town when around noon it jumped off the narrow road at Laghuwa village in Palpa district.

It is one of the worst recent road disasters in a country where accidents have become increasingly common due to rash driving and tremendous work strain.

Initial reports said the road had become difficult to manoeuvre due to landslides caused by heavy rainfall in the past few days.

Rescue workers had recovered 19 bodies, but till late noon had not been able to identify the victims.

Three more passengers died while being treated in the Mission Hospital in Tansen town. Nearly 40 more are undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Road smashes have become the biggest killers in Nepal since the Maoist insurgency ended last year, with accidents reported daily.

Hours before the bus smash, a pedestrian was killed right before Singh Durbar - the heart of the government in Nepal where parliament, the prime minister's office and other ministries are located - when a car hit him at high speed.

Several foreign governments caution their citizens to try to avoid travelling by bus, especially on overnight journeys.

Besides bad roads compounded by rains in monsoon, public bus drivers are incredibly overworked, often driving for over 12 hours without break.

Several accidents have been caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.