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Indonesia bus crash death toll up to at least 28

A local rescue team said it has evacuated at least 13 survivors and the search is still ongoing to find more bodies over the fear that some might have been carried away in the river.

FILE: This picture taken on 24 December 2019 shows rescue personnel retrieving a victim's body after a bus careered into a 150-metre deep ravine near Perahu Dipo village in Pagar Alam, South Sumatra. Picture: AFP.

JAKARTA - The number of people killed in a fatal bus crash in Indonesia has risen to 28 including eight children, police said Wednesday as a rescue team continued to search a river.

The bus careered into a 150-metre ravine in South Sumatra province just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Monday and ended up in a river, according to police.

Local police chief Dolly Gumara said on Wednesday another body was found late on Tuesday, adding up the death toll to 28 from earlier 27. Eight of the killed passengers were children, said Gumara.

"We have identified 27 of the killed victims and only one body is still unidentified as of today. The victim is a woman," Gumara told AFP on Wednesday.

A local rescue team said it has evacuated at least 13 survivors and the search is still ongoing to find more bodies over the fear that some might have been carried away in the river.

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

"There is a possibility that there will be more victims that is why we still continue the search," said wednesday local rescue team spokesman Taufan, who goes only by one name like many Indonesians.

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.