Page last updated at 05:33 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 06:33 UK

India bus accident leaves 18 dead

File picture of a bus accident in India
Road accidents are common in India and claim hundreds of lives every year

A speeding bus has run over a group of villagers watching a movie on the side of a highway in eastern India, killing 18 people, police have said.

Eight others who were watching the film were also injured in the accident in the Sitamarhi district of Bihar state.

Police said the driver of the bus appeared to have lost control.

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

Suman Kumar, a local police officer, said the victims of the crash in Sitamarhi had been watching a movie on the roadside as part of celebrations for a Hindu festival when the bus hit them.

"We have seized the bus, but we are still looking for the driver who fled from the scene," he told the Reuters news agency.

Angry villagers later blocked the highway for hours to protest against the incident.

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