24 school kids among 27 die in HP bus accident

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At least 27 children, some as young as 10 years old, have died in northern India after a school bus plunged into a deep ravine in the Himalayan foothills, according to police.

The driver, who also died along with two teachers, was reportedly speeding and lost control on a mountain road in India. "My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident", said Modi in a statement posted on the official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister's Office.

Few other details were immediately available Monday.

Gandhi, for his part tweeted, "I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the bus accident in Himachal, that has claimed many lives, including those of 26 children".

It was this alert that helped rescuers reach the spot within the next 30 minutes, said police and local residents.

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SP Santosh Patial said the number of students in the bus was expected to be around 40, but "the exact number was not confirmed". The Chief Minister also directed hospital authorities to provide the injured best medical treatment, while assuring that the state government would provide all possible assistance to the family members of deceased children.

Some children are still trapped inside the mangled bus, news agency IANS reported. The bus fell about 200 feet, or 60 meters, to the ground below, said police officer Sunil Kumar.

The students are from Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Memorial Public School.

Casey said that initial reports were that the boy was a passenger on the bus.