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42 Dead After Bus Drives into Canal in India

Bus falls into a canal in Sidhi district of India’s northeast Madhya Pradesh state, Feb 16, 2021.

An overcrowded bus drove off a bridge and into a canal in central India on Tuesday, killing at least 42 people, officials in the Sidhi district of India’s northeast Madhya Pradesh state say.

Police and witnesses at the scene say the bus was traveling from Sidhi district to Satna district early Monday when the driver lost control as it crossed the bridge over the canal. They say the bus was completely submerged and local officials ordered the water cut off from the canal to aid the search and rescue process.

Sidhi District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Choudhary told reporters, at the time of the accident, the bus was carrying far more passengers than the 34 for which it was built.

On his Twitter account, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the wreck “horrific” and expressed his condolences. He approved payments from his National Relief Fund for family members.

Police statistics show India has some of the world's worst road fatality rates, with more than 110,000 people killed every year. Officials cite poorly maintained roads, aging vehicles, and inadequate law enforcement among the causes.