updated 10/28/2006 8:38:09 AM ET 2006-10-28T12:38:09

At least 42 people were killed and another 45 wounded Saturday when an overcrowded bus plunged off a mountain road in western Nepal, police said.

The bus was traveling near the town of Tribeni, some 250 miles west of the Nepalese capital, Katmandu, when it skidded off the road, plunging about 950 feet into a ravine bellow, said local police officer Birkha Bahadur Rawal.

Police are investigating the cause, he said adding that an initial probe indicated the driver may have lost control of the vehicle because it was overloaded with passengers.

Police did not yet know if the driver was among those who survived.

The bus was traveling toward the southern town of Dang, when the accident occurred.

Among those killed, 32 died on the spot while eight died on the way to the hospital and two while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Dang.

About a dozen more were in a critical condition and hospitalized at Nepalgunj.

Police official Rawal said some of the passengers managed to jump and survived, indicating there were several people traveling on the roof, a common practice in rural Nepal where not much public transportation is available.

Deadly road accidents are common in Nepal, often caused by poor roads and aging overcrowded vehicles.

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