Eight people have died and another eight were critically injured after a bus carrying farm workers crashed and overturned in Florida.

The bus was transporting 53 workers when it collided with a pickup truck in Marion County, north of Orlando, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said.

The bus then swerved off State Road 40 – a hilly two-lane road that goes through farms – and crashed through a fence, before overturning, authorities said.

The collision took place at 6.35am local time on Tuesday and It is unclear why the two vehicles crashed.

A total of 37 people needed hospital treatment – eight of whom are in a critical condition, the Marion County Fire Rescue confirmed to NBC News.

The driver of the truck was also taken to hospital, NBC News added.

The farm workers were being transported to Cannon Farms in Dunellon, where watermelon harvesting has been taking place.

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A map showing the location of Dunnellon, Florida. Pic: Datawrapper

Following the crash, a post on the farm’s social media said it will “be closed today out of respect to the losses and injuries endured early this morning”.

“Please pray with us for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident,” the post continued. “We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time.”

Photographs from the scene show the bus on its side, with its rear emergency door and top hatch open.

Authorities have said it’s unclear why the two vehicles collided. Pic: AP

Cannon Farms is a family-owned business that has been operational for more than 100 years, according to its website.

They now focus on peanuts and watermelons, which they supply to grocery stores across the US and Canada.

The vehicle transporting the workers was a 2010 International Bus and the pickup truck was a 2001 Ford Ranger, authorities said.

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