At least 44 people have been confirmed dead after a bus plunged off a cliff in northern India’s mountainous Himachal Pradesh. The coach was carrying more than 50 passengers when it fell into the Tons river near Chopal. Police said the bus was heading to Vikasnagar when the accident occurred.

According to reports a 13-year-old child and the conductor of the bus jumped seconds before the vehicle plunged into the river. India has some of the world’s deadliest roads and there are more than 150,000 fatalities every year.

Rohan Chand Thakur, district commissioner of Shimla, said: “A preliminary report shows that a private bus fell into a gorge and has killed more than 40 people. The latest report given to me shows 44 people have been killed.” He added that rescue efforts were under way at the scene.