Raigad police officer PD Patil said the people were going somewhere for a weekend picnic.
- Those killed were employees of an agricultural university in Maharashtra
- Only one person, of the 34 onboard, managed to survive the crash
- The incident happened in Maharashtra's Raigad district
33 employees of an agricultural university in Maharashtra were killed when a bus they were travelling in skidded off a mountain stretch on the Mumbai-Goa highway this morning. Only one person, of the 34 onboard, managed to survive the crash. The police said 11 bodies have been recovered from the accident site in Maharashtra's Raigad district.
The vehicle fell 500 feet down the mountain, news agency IANS reported.
"We have confirmed 33 deaths and only one person managed to survive the bus crash. Our team is trying to recover the bodies," National Disaster Response Force Commandant Anupam Srivastava told news agency AFP.
State minister Vinod Tawde tweeted he has asked officials to go to the accident site and start rescue operations immediately.
The stretch of the highway in the Western Ghats where the accident happened had been receiving heavy rain for the past few days. Police said the slippery mountain terrain where the accident took place made the road a danger.
A police officer said the employees of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth were headed to Mahabaleshwar for a weekend picnic.
The only survivor of the crash managed to climb up the road and alert the police, after which rescuers reached the area. A team of the National Disaster Response Force from Pune is involved in search and rescue operations.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted he has asked party workers in the area to provide "all possible assistance to the injured and families of those who have died". President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted they are pained by the loss of lives in the bus accident.