updated 10/14/2008 5:05:06 AM ET 2008-10-14T09:05:06

A series of road accidents killed at least 48 people and injured another 64 in north and northeastern India on Tuesday, government officials and police said.

At least 20 people were killed in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand when the bus they were traveling in fell into a 500-foot-deep gorge, government spokesman Amit Chandola said. 

The bus was carrying about 40 passengers and plunged as the driver tried to negotiate a turn on the curving mountain road, he said, adding that 20 people have been rescued so far.

Of those rescued, 15 people were injured, at least six of them seriously, he said, adding that the number of casualties may increase.

In another accident in Uttarakhand, five people were killed when the jeep they were traveling in rolled down a hill, Chandola said.

Five other passengers were injured, three of them seriously, he said.

Bus crashes into stationary truck
In the northeastern state of Assam, an overcrowded, speeding bus crashed into a stationary truck, killing 23 people and injuring 44 others, police said.

The bus was carrying laborers to work before dawn in the state's Dhubri district some 185 miles west of the state capital, Gauhati.

"The bus carrying 67 passengers hit a stationary potato-laden truck with great speed, leading to the fatalities," said Dhubri police chief Parthasarathi Mahanta.

Mahanta said the driver of the bus, which had a capacity of just 35, lost control and collided with the parked truck, reducing both vehicles to "a mass of mangled steel."

The injured have been taken to hospitals in the area, he said.

Deadly road accidents are common in India, often caused by aging vehicles, overloading and reckless driving.

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