Death toll in Indonesia bus plunge rises to 35 as more victims found

Map of Indonesia locating a fatal bus crash in South Sumatra province late Monday (AFP Photo/)

Jakarta (AFP) - At least 35 people were killed when a bus plunged into a ravine in Indonesia, officials said in a new toll Thursday, making it one of the most deadly bus accidents in recent years.

A rescue team in Indonesia's island of Sumatra on Thursday continued the search for a third day to find more bodies after seven new victims were found in a river late on Wednesday.

According to a passenger manifest, the regional bus left Bengkulu province for Pagar Alam with 27 on board but some survivors told police there were around 50 people inside when the accident happened on Monday just before midnight.

Spokesman for a local rescue team in South Sumatra Taufan, who only goes by one name like many Indonesians, said Thursday that of the 35 people killed, 16 were male and 19 female.

"The rescue team is searching the river 6 kilometres towards the north using rafting," Taufan told AFP on Thursday.

The team has evacuated at least 13 survivors and the search is still ongoing to find more bodies over fears that some might have been carried away in the river.

At least eight of the passengers killed were children, local police chief Dolly Gumara said Wednesday.

Traffic accidents are common in the Southeast Asian archipelago, where vehicles are often old and poorly maintained and road rules regularly flouted.

In September, at least 21 people died when a bus plunged into a ravine in West Java's Sukabumi region.

Several months earlier, 12 people were killed and dozens more injured when a passenger tried to wrest control of a bus steering wheel following an argument with the driver on the same toll road in West Java as Thursday's accident. The bus smashed into two cars, causing a truck to roll.