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At least 30 people, including 27 children, were killed Monday in northern India when a school bus plunged into a deep ravine in the Himalayan foothills, police said.

The bus carrying young students home in Himachal Pradesh state flew off a cliff near Nurpur, about 325 kilometers (200 miles) from the state capital Shimla, and crashed into a valley, reported AFP.

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“The bus rolled into 200 feet (60 meters) deep gorge, killing 27 schoolchildren, two teachers, and the driver,” a senior local police official, Santosh Patial, told AFP from the scene.

“My first priority was to save lives. We will now investigate the reasons for the accident,” he said.

Most of the students were aged between 10 and 12 years and hailed from a local school, he added. Twelve have been rushed to the hospital, most in a critical condition.

Onlookers rushed to search the mangled yellow bus upturned on the valley slope for survivors.

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