The bus slipped off the road at it was passing through the mountainous region in Ambenali Ghat near Mahabaleshwar in the Raigad district and fell into a 250-300 feet deep gorge.
The bus was carrying 34 passengers when it plunged into the gorge after unsuccessfully negotiating a bend in the Western Ghats mountain range in Maharashtra state, local police official Prakash Pawar said.
The accident spot is at the boundary of Raigad-Satara district. "Our team is trying to recover the bodies", Anupam Srivastava, commander of India's National Disaster Relief Force, said. Only one passenger, who was thrown out from a window of the bus, was saved in the accident.
The Maharashtra government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of those who died in accident.
The passengers were employees of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, an agricultural university in Ratnagiri district, the Hindustan Times reported. "We will provide help to the kin of the deceased, but will also take steps to ensure such incidents don't take place in the future", said Maharasthra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, according to news agency ANI. The state government will also bear the medical expenses of those injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the accident on Twitter. "I'm sorry to hear about the awful bus accident in Raigad, Maharashtra in which a large number of people have been killed and many others injured".
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed condolences on the tragedy.
I'm sorry to hear about the awful bus accident in Raigad, Maharashtra in which a large number of people have been killed and many others injured.
Pravin Randive was supposed to join his colleagues at Dapoli agriculture university when they set out for week-end picnic at Mahabaleshwar on Saturday morning.
"Pained to know about the loss of lives in Mahabaleshwar bus accident".