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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
India bus accidents leave 64 dead
At least 64 people have been killed in two separate bus accidents in northern India, police say.

In the worst incident, at least 51 wedding guests died after a bus plunged into a canal in Barpeta district in north-east Assam state, police said.

Police say most of the bodies were found inside the vehicle, which has been pulled from the water by a crane.

Meanwhile, 13 people died when a bus fell into a deep gorge near Nainital in Uttaranchal state, police said.

Some rescued

The bus which plunged into the canal in Assam was carrying at least 80 passengers, police say.

"Twenty-seven passengers have been rescued so far," the district police chief Ajay Shankar Tiwari told the BBC.

He said the death toll may rise further.

The driver lost control of the bus after the brakes failed and the vehicle skidded of the road into the canal, police say.

The bus, travelling from the town of Sorbhong, came off the road just after midnight on Wednesday near Sarupetha, about 150km (100 miles) west of the state capital, Guwahati, police said.

In the other accident, the bus fell into a 100-metre (328ft) gorge near the town of Nainital, local official Rakesh Kumar told the BBC.

Forty-three passengers were in the vehicle, which was travelling from the capital, Delhi, to Almora in Uttaranchal state.

Senior police official Alok Sharma told the Associated Press news agency that the driver lost control as the vehicle negotiated a sharp turn and fell into the gorge.

Road accidents are common and claim hundreds of lives every year in India. Most of the accidents are blamed on reckless driving, old vehicles and poorly maintained roads.

Most passenger buses are also old and in poor condition.

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