At least 19 people died and 21others sustained injuries of varying degree after the bus they were travelling in fell into a deep ravine in the eastern part of Myanmar, the police said Saturday.
The bus, carrying around 40 passengers, was travelling from the centrally-placed Bago province when it plunged off a highway near Myawaddy, a town on the Thai border, and fell into the gorge. It is believed that most of the passengers were migrant people.
"Nineteen people were killed and 21 people were injured, while a few people were lucky to live," Kyi Lin, the chief of police in Karen state, told AFP.
"(The bus) fell down into a narrow and deep gorge," he said, adding that police believe the driver lost control of the bus because of a brake failure. The police sources said some of the injured are "lucky to be alive."
The nearby authorities were among the first to rush to the spot and help in search and rescue operations. However, the search and rescue operations were really difficult as the ravine was said to be quite deep with steep slopes.
Lin said the injured people were taken to nearby hospitals for urgent care by the police and local aid groups. They are also making funeral arrangements for the dead.
According to a medical worker, a hospital in Mae Sot, the Thai town across the border, took in seven patients from the crash, who were in "critical condition". This raises the apprehensions that the death toll in the accident may increase further.
Road accidents are common in impoverished Myanmar, whose transport network is in poor condition after decades of underinvestment by the junta that ruled the country for almost half a century until early 2011.
According to data collected by the World Health Organization in a 2015 report, Myanmar has the second most dangerous roads in Southeast Asia with 20.3 road fatalities per 100,000 people.