At least 17 people died and several others were injured after a bus carrying 40 people fell into a gorge in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, on Friday. Officials said the bus was heading to Ratlam from Mandsaur when the accident took place, The Indian Express reported. The commuters had little time to escape as the vehicle sank in the water body too fast, according to ANI.

Witnesses said the bus driver was speeding before the vehicle overturned and fell into the gorge. According to the survivors, the driver lost control after one of the bus' tyres burst, IANS reported. Ratlam Superintendent of Police Abhilash Sharma said 12 passengers had been saved, and a rescue operation was underway.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Bhopal to inaugurate of a war memorial, expressed his "distress" over the incident and wished the injured a speedy recovery.