The bus fell 60 metres to the ground below, said police officer Sunil Kumar.
"Rescue operation underway with the help of locals".
The private school bus skidded off a mountain road and fell into a 30-metre gorge in the district of Kangra, state education minister Suresh Bhardwaj told the dpa press agency.
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School bus driver, 67-year-old Madan Lal, and two women teachers also died in the accident, Kangra SP Santosh Patial said.
Food, Consumer affairs and Civil Supply Kishan Kapoor and Urban Development Minister Sarveen Chudhary visited the spot.
On Tuesday morning, the other bus driver lost control of the vehicle to a treacherous stretch of street nearby town of Pune and veered off the road. The condition of at least three of the injured children, hospitalised at Pathankot in Punjab, are said to be serious.
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Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced the government would give the next of kin of each of the dead about $7,700 in compensation.
The son of Suresh Singh, a plumber, and Renu, who died four years ago, Ranbir is a student of Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Memorial Public School in Nurpur - so were the 23 children who died, many below the age of 10. Modi tweeted from his official account, "I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh".
Teams from the local administration and the National Disaster Response Force involved in the rescue faced a tough time in pulling out the victims from the mangled bus.
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