At least 24 schoolgirls and two other people have been killed after a passenger bus overturned in southwestern Iran, officials said.

Mohammad Reza Mehmandar, a senior police official, said that the bus crashed into a valley in Khuzestan province on Friday after the driver lost control of the vehicle while travelling at high speed in rainy weather. 

Mehmandar also said that 19 others were injured in the accident. They were rushed to hospitals for treatment.

The accident took place on the Izeh-Lordegan road, about 500km southwest of the capital Tehran.

Iran has one of the world's worst traffic safety records, with more than 400,000 accidents and about 20,000 deaths on its roads every year.

The high death tolls are blamed on high speed, unsafe vehicles, widespread disregard of traffic laws, and inadequate emergency services.

Source: Agencies