updated 1/1/2010 2:16:03 AM ET 2010-01-01T07:16:03

A speeding bus lost control and hit a tree before crashing into a canal in southwestern Bangladesh early Friday, killing 18 people and injuring dozens, police said.

Rescuers recovered 14 bodies from the wreckage of the bus after it crashed in Faridpur district, local police chief Awlad Ali Fakir said. An additional four people died while being taken to hospital, he said.

The area is 40 miles southwest of capital Dhaka.

Fakir said 56 injured people were being treated in hospitals, some of them in serious condition.

Authorities ordered an investigation into the accident, he said.

Fatal road accidents, blamed on rash driving, faulty vehicles and lax rules, kill more than 5,000 people a year in Bangladesh, the government says.

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