An overcrowded minibus crashed into a gorge in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Monday, killing at least 35 people and injuring another 17, officials said.

The bus plunged off the Himalayan mountain road as its driver negotiated a curve and rolled down into a 150m deep gorge along a rocky stream, said civil administrator Angrez Singh Rana. He said officials were investigating whether it was a mechanical failure or driver’s negligence.

Rescue teams have evacuated all the injured to hospitals, where all of them are in critical condition.

Rana said 10 of the injured were airlifted in two helicopters to Jammu city for specialised treatment. He said more helicopters were being pressed into service.

Top police officer M.K Sinha said the bus hit the rocks and was torn apart in several pieces. He said the 27-seat bus was overcrowded.

On Thursday, a minibus carrying students to a picnic crashed into a gorge along another Himalayan road in Kashmir, killing at least 11 and injuring seven others.

India has the world’s deadliest roads, with about 150,000 killed and 470,000 injured annually. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.

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