KAKANJ, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ A bus carrying Muslim pilgrims to a religious site plunged off a bridge today, killing more than 40 people, officials said.

The accident occurred around dawn at a bridge over the Bosna river near the town of Kakanj. Investigators said the vehicle apparently went out of control, crossed into the left lane, crashed through a guardrail and fell into the river.

Police chief Zuhrija Rovcanin said 42 people were confirmed dead and 12 were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Authorities were unsure how many people were on the bus and would determine the final death toll after crews pull the bus out of the river.

Witnesses said entire families, including children, were on the bus. Police were sifting through victims' luggage and handbags, searching for documents to determine identities.

Amir Delic, a coal miner from Kakanj, was among the first people to reach the scene.

``I came running and pulled eight bodies out,'' he said. ``It was so horrific. I pulled out those eight and I collapsed. I couldn't do any more.''

Bosnian radio said the pilgrims from the central Bosnian town of Zenica were en route to the village of Buna in southern Bosnia where Muslims traditionally gather in May to pray.