16 dead as bus plunges off bridge into river in northern India

DEHRADUN, India (AFP) - A bus smashed into a bridge and plunged into a river in India, killing at least 16 people after the driver lost control of the vehicle, the police said.

Another three people were in critical condition after the bus, carrying 35 people, veered off the bridge in the mountainous northern state of Uttarakhand.

"The bus collided with the bridge and overturned" into a small river, police officer Mukhtaar Hasan told AFP. Some of the victims appeared to have drowned, the police said.

The accident occurred in Juyalgarh village, some 150km from state capital Dehradun.

India has the highest number of road accidents globally, with 138,000 recorded in 2012, the latest year for which official government figures are available.

Transport analysts attribute the huge number of accidents to poor roads, ill-trained drivers and reckless driving.

The national government has recently put forward proposals for new legislation to make India's road safer by stiffening lax traffic regulations.