The vehicle was part of a Jammu-bound convoy and the accident occurred near Khuni Nallah in Ramban district around 8.45 am, a police officer said. Trees prevented the bus from falling further down in the gorge, the officer said.
As local trekkers made their way down the gorge at Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur in Raigad district on Saturday, trying to rescue the passengers in the ill-fated bus, they saw one of them motioning for help.
Sixteen people, including a woman, died on the spot while another person succumbed to his injuries at a Saifai hospital. Mostly labourers, returning to their native villages in Uttar Pradesh from Rajasthan, were travelling on the bus.