A bus carrying pilgrims from a Hindu temple in the hills of south India plunged off a road Tuesday, killing at least 45 people, officials said. At least 25 other people were injured.

The driver lost control as he tried to avoid another bus on the crowded road leading from the popular Anjaneya Swamy temple in Telangana state, said Narendar, a local official who uses only one name.

Crowds often throng the temple on Tuesdays. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Hanuman, and Tuesdays are seen as auspicious for offering prayers to him.

Rescuers pull out passengers from a bus that fell into a gorge in Jagtiyal district of Telangana, India. Photo / AP
Rescuers pull out passengers from a bus that fell into a gorge in Jagtiyal district of Telangana, India. Photo / AP

Passersby rushed to help after the bus crashed off the road, mangling the front of the vehicle. Volunteers crawled into the bus through broken windows, carrying the dead and injured though thick grass and up the hill to the road. The injured were taken to area hospitals.

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An investigation has been ordered into the cause of the accident, Narendar said.

- AP