34 killed as bus plunges off bridge in central Vietnam

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Thirty four people were killed when a passenger bus plunged off a bridge into a river below in Vietnam's Central Highlands Thursday night, VnExpress reported. More than 20 others were seriously injured and are in hospital.

The bus, on its way to Ho Chi Minh City, crashed into the railing of the Serepok Bridge linking the provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong at around 10 p.m., the news website said.

It fell 18 meters from the bridge into the river below, killing 34 people instantly, mostly from head injuries.

Local residents rescued 25 or 26 passengers and rushed them to hospitals, Dinh Van Khiet, vice chairman of the Dak Lak People's Committee, said.

The cause of the accident is not known as is the fate of the driver.

Nguyen Van Khanh, 24, one of the survivors told Dan Tri news website that the accident happened when passengers were sleeping. He had been lying on the floor with two others.

"I vaguely heard a shooting-like noise and only when people started screaming did I realize that the bus had fallen off the bridge," he said.

Some were badly injured after being buffeted against the bus when it fell, but he had been "stuck on the floor."

He said he got out of the bus when rescuers broke a door from outside, adding some other people also followed him out.

Dan Tri said the bus was crushed and half of it was submerged.

Local agencies dispatched two medium-sized cranes to lift the bus from the bridge but they were unable to reach down.

The bus, operated by the Dak Lak-based Quyet Thang Transport Cooperative, was only lifted more than two hours later when a large crane arrived at the site.

Investigations are continuing.

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