Katmandu: An overcrowded bus carrying Hindu pilgrims skidded off a slippery highway in southern Nepal on Sunday, killing 39 people, officials said.
Among them, atleast 34 were Indians.
Police official Gyan Bikram Shah said the bus was so packed that some people were riding on the roof.
The driver lost control on the rain-slicked road, and the bus plunged into a flooded irrigation canal.
The bus was carrying 100 to 120 Hindu pilgrims, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, to a temple in Nawalparasi district, 150 kilometres west of the capital Kathmandu, police officials in Nawalparasi district.
While 39 bodies were retrieved till late afternoon, 27 people who were on board the bus were still missing.
The accident site — Gandak Canal — is located some 250 km south west of Kathmandu.
Officials said 37 of the 39 bodies have been identified so far, and three of them were of Nepalese citizens, others were Indians.
The victims include 28 men, 10 women and a five-year-old girl.
A team from the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, with a doctor and an official from the Consulate General of India, Birgunj, were dispatched to the site of the accident near the Indo-Nepal border.
The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu also set up a control room to provide information about Indian nationals involved in bus accident.
The driver is believed to have survived the crash, but may have fled later, he said.
The area is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the capital, Katmandu.