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2 buses fall into Indian mountain gorges; 21 dead

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Two crowded buses went out of control and fell off roads in separate accidents in the Himalayan foothills in northern India, killing a total of 21 people, police said Tuesday.

Both accidents happened Monday as the buses were negotiating winding mountainous roads. India has the world's deadliest roads, with more than 110,000 people killed annually and most accidents blamed on reckless driving, poor road maintenance or aging vehicles.

One bus carrying 61 people veered off a road at a turn and plunged into a deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh state, killing 13 tourists and injuring 43 others, some critically, Nahan town police officer Sandeep Negi said. The bus had visited the lake resort town of Renuka Ji.

Rescuers used a crane to lift the vehicle from the gorge. Authorities were investigating the cause of the accident.

About 900 miles (1,400 kilometers) to the east in the rainy northeastern state of Meghalaya, an overloaded bus went out of control as it was approaching a bridge and fell into a 10-meter (35-foot) ravine. Eight people were killed and at least 35 others were being treated at a hospital for serious injuries, according to South Garo Hills Deputy Police Commissioner C.P. Cotmare.

Police detained the bus driver for questioning.

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