At least 31 people died in a bus crash in a valley in India

At least 31 people were killed when a bus plunged into a valley in the mountains of northern India, police said Wednesday.

The bus, with about 45 people traveling for a wedding party, was traveling on a bumpy mountain road in Uttarakhand province when the driver swerved, causing it to fall from a height of 500 meters to the bottom of a cliff.

At the end of the rescue operations, 31 bodies were found and 19 wounded people were rescued, the state police announced on Twitter, after it had reported earlier Wednesday that 25 people had died in the accident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the survivors that "every possible assistance" would be secured.

"At this tragic moment, my thoughts are with the grieving families," he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Fatal road accidents are frequent in the province of Uttarakhand, which crosses part of the Indian Himalayas and is home to many religious pilgrimage sites.

More than 20 pilgrims were killed last June when a bus fell at the bottom of a ravine on their way to a shrine dedicated to the Hindu deity Yamuna, north of the provincial capital of Dehradun.

According to a World Bank report published last year, India is responsible for 11% of the total global number of deaths caused by road accidents, while accounting for only 1% of the world's total car fleet.

Road accidents kill about 150,000 people in India annually, an average of one death every four minutes, according to this report, and cost the Indian economy about $75 billion annually.

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