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Bus falls into ravine in eastern Nepal, killing 9

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NEW DELHI, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - At least nine people died and 36 were wounded when a bus plunged off a mountain highway in eastern Nepal, the Kathmandu Post reported on Wednesday.

The accident occurred on Tuesday night in Udaypur district, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. The bus was carrying more than 60 people when it skidded off the road and fell into a 300-meter ravine.

"The driver blew the horn repeatedly, shouting the brakes had failed," said Ishwori Danuwar, an eyewitness, the newspaper reported. He added that some of the passengers traveling on the roof of the bus survived by jumping off, and the bus driver jumped out of the vehicle and fled the scene.

According to eyewitnesses, the bus lost control while negotiating a sharp bend on the narrow mountain highway. Police said the bus was overcrowded and the driver was probably speeding.

Nine people of 36 injured in the accident were hospitalized in critical condition. Of the nine who died, only 6-year-old Bidur Koirala has been identified, the newspaper reported.

Nepal's high rates of traffic fatalities are caused by a combination of narrow, winding roads often in a state of disrepair, poorly maintained, overcrowded vehicles and careless driving.

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