Quetta, Pakistan – At least 27 people were killed on Wednesday when a bus plunged off the road into a deep ravine in southwestern Pakistan, hospital and government officials said.

The crash happened around dawn in Basima town in Balochistan province while the bus was travelling from Turbat city to Quetta.

“The driver was navigating a turn in a mountainous area when the vehicle lost control and fell into a ravine,” Ismail Mengal, a local government official said, giving a toll of 27 dead.

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“We are still investigating the cause of the incident. It could be that the driver fell asleep or was speeding, which led to the accident.”

More than 25 others, including the driver, were injured.

Noor Ullah, chief doctor at Civil Hospital Basima, told AFP that 27 bodies were taken there, including three women and two children.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has “expressed deep sorrow and grief over the tragic traffic accident”, his office said in a statement.

Road accidents with high fatalities are common in Pakistan, where safety measures are lax, driver training is poor and transport infrastructure often decrepit.

At least 17 pilgrims were killed and 41 injured in a crash in April as they travelled to a shrine in Balochistan’s Hub district.

In January last year, 41 people were killed when their bus, which was also loaded with containers of flammable oil, careered off the road into a valley and burst into flames.

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© Agence France-Presse