Bus Plunges 60 Feet in One of Vietnam's Worst Crashes
34 dead, another 21 injured
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2012 9:15 AM CDT
In this photo taken May 17, 2012, rescuers work to search for victims of a bus accident in central highland province of Dak Lak, Vietnam.    (Thai Ba Dung)

(Newser) – A crowded overnight bus plunged off a bridge into a river in central Vietnam last night, killing 34 people and injuring 21 others in one of the country's deadliest road accidents. The 50-seat coach lost control and ripped through the bridge's guardrails, diving about 60 feet and landing on its top, partially submerged in the Serepok River, says a local official. It took rescuers four hours to pull the bodies from the bus.

"When the accident happened, everyone in the bus was sleeping," a survivor tells a local news website. "I vaguely heard a noise like gunfire and then people were screaming when the bus was overturned. ... I managed to escape through a window that was smashed opened by others." Rescuers used axes to try to free trapped passengers. Photos showed a body hanging limply out the side of the ripped-open vehicle, which was hoisted out of the river by crane early this morning. Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash. Vietnam has one of the world's highest traffic fatality rates, with more than 11,000 people killed each year.