Kathmandu: At least 19 people were killed on Saturday when a passenger bus skidded off a highway and plunged into Trishuli river in Nepal's Dhading district, police said.

"Nineteen bodies were recovered while 16 injured are receiving treatment at local hospitals," a district official said. The accident took place at 5 am. The bus, carrying nearly 40 passengers, was en route to Kathmandu from Rajbiraj. The police have intensified rescue operations and the toll was expected to rise, the official added.

Authorities have not yet been able to pull the bus out of the river.