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18 killed after overcrowded bus slips off Nepal mountain road

At least 18 people have died after an overcrowded bus taking villagers home for Nepal's biggest festival slipped off a mountain road.

The bus was carrying passengers both inside and on the roof, Dhading district administrator Toran Parajuli said.

He added the road was covered in parts by mud from landslides, and that the bus driver appeared to be trying to negotiate these areas when the accident happened.

Rescue co-ordinator Ramesh Dhamala said the left wheel of the bus slipped, with the whole of the vehicle then rolling off the road.

The bus slipped near Lapang Phedi village, 75 miles west of the capital Kathmandu, and rolled about 1,000ft before stopping on the banks of the Ankhu River.

Police, army personnel and local villagers helped the victims, 13 of whom were taken to hospital by two helicopters sent from Kathmandu.

The bus, which was on a local route and carrying all Nepali nationals, was unusually crowded because people in Nepal are heading to their homes this week for the Hindu festival of Dashain, which begins on Saturday.

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The two-week festival is the most important one in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu country.

It is illegal to travel on the roof of a bus in Nepal, but police do not monitor rural roads. Traffic accidents in the Himalayan country are blamed mainly on poorly maintained roads and vehicles.


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