BHAVNAGAR: Onlookers gather around the bodies of passengers who had been travelling in a truck that plunged off a bridge in Bhavnagar district, about 200km from Ahmedabad in India’s western Gujarat state yesterday. — AFP

AHMEDABAD: A truck carrying a wedding party plunged off a bridge in western India yesterday and killed at least 30 people, mostly women and children, officials said. Police in Gujarat state said the accident happened after the truck driver tried to overtake a van but lost control of the vehicle, plunging eight meters (26 feet) into a dry riverbed.

Images from the scene showed bloodied passengers being assisted by bystanders as the dead were covered in sheets. Many passengers were trapped under the vehicle that overturned after it crashed through the bridge railing and nosedived into the ground. AM Sayyed, local deputy superintendent of police, said the initial death toll rose after five passengers died from their injuries in hospital.

Nearly 60 people were travelling in the open truck and most victims were women and children, local police officer KJ Kadapda told AFP. Many of the injured were in critical condition and officials fear the death toll could rise further. The accident happened in Bhavnagar district about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the state capital Ahmedabad. Authorities have announced financial aid of 400,000 rupees ($6,148) to the family of each of the deceased. India has some of the world's deadliest roads. More than 150,000 people are killed each year with most accidents blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving._ AFP