Pakistan bus crash
The accident occurred at Nausehri, approximately 45km north of Muzaffarabad near India - Pakistan border ~ Representational Image SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images

At least 23 passengers are thought to be dead following a horrific bus crash in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A minibus reportedly fell off a cliff and sunk into a river late on Friday (23 September) night.

According to reports, the vehicle veered off a mountainous road and fell 100 metres into the the Neelum River. The driver was reportedly speeding and lost control of the bus.

The accident occurred at Nausehri, approximately 45km north of Muzaffarabad, near India - Pakistan border. The region in Kashmir is controlled by Pakistani forces.

The local government and rescue officials have said the water current has swept away the wreckage and bodies, making it difficult for the search team to continue its operations.

"More than 23 people were killed and three others wounded in the bus accident," local government official Ashfaq Gilani told AFP news agency.

"We have only found three bodies and three wounded people. More than 20 other passengers and the wreckage of the bus have been swept away by the river," he said. "We have presumed them dead as there is no chance of their survival."

Road accidents are reported to be not uncommon in Pakistan, which has one of the world's worst records for such accidents. Reckless driving, poor roads and badly maintained vehicles are thought to be blamed for major fatal traffic accidents in the country.

According to a report from 2015, nearly 4,500 people are killed in road accidents in Pakistan.