At least eight students were killed and 27 injured in a stampede on a staircase at an elementary school in Sichuan province after a student screamed that a dead boy had returned as a ghost. The Huaxi Metropolitan Daily reported the incident happened during a sudden power blackout. Students were leaving their classroom at the Guangna Elementary School at 8pm on Tuesday when a student yelled that the ghost of a former classmate who recently killed himself had returned, according to Liu Xiao , a spokesman for the Tongjiang County government. The school is in Tongjiang county, Bazhong City . 'The children got frightened and scrambled to make their way down the stairs. Children in rural villages firmly believe in ghosts,' Mr Liu said. 'I don't have the dead student's name. He committed suicide on his way home more than 10 days ago because his parents are getting divorced.' He said one child fell and was crushed by others as the panicked children rushed to get away. Mr Liu said authorities had not identified the student who started the stampede, but no penalities would be imposed. 'There won't be any punishment. They are just children,' he said. Of the 27 injured students being treated at Tongjiang County People's Hospital, seven were in serious but not life-threatening condition. The other 20 suffered slight injuries. The students killed - six boys and two girls - were in the fifth grade, aged about 13, Mr Liu said. They were in the classrooms so late because they were boarders at the school. According to the Huaxi Metropolitan Daily, the students were leaving the classroom when the lights went out. The report added that the students tripped and stepped onto each other during the rush. There was nonstop screaming and more students ran from behind. But Mr Liu said: 'The lights at staircases come on automatically when there is sound or someone passing by. The light at the stairs was on at the time.' Parents whose children were killed would be compensated up to 70,000 yuan by the government, Mr Liu said. The injured would be treated for free by the hospital. Xiong Guanglin, mayor of Bazhong City, led a team of officials from the Public Security Bureau, Education Bureau and hospitals to the scene after the incident.