19 die as bus plunges into canal in northern India

LUCKNOW, India (AFP) - At least 19 people were killed early on Monday when a bus plunged into a canal in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, an official said.

Twenty-three others were rescued and taken to hospital with injuries after the accident in Etah district, 265 kilometres from state capital Lucknow, local administrator Lokesh M told AFP by telephone.

He said 11 of the victims belonged to a family which was travelling to New Delhi after attending a wedding in the town of Aliganj.

The driver of the state-run bus lost control while trying to overtake a truck, the official said.

The accident comes after 33 passengers died after a bus plunged on May 8 into a fast-flowing river in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

India has an appalling road safety record with bad roads, speeding vehicles and poor driving among the contributing factors.

The World Health Organisation's global status report on road safety 2013 found that eight per cent of India's road fatalities were bus drivers or their passengers while 32 per cent were riders of motorbikes or three-wheelers.

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