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India

12 kids killed in India when train hit school minibus

Officials say the bus driver ignored signals from a railway guard telling him to stop

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 April, 2018, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2018, 3:34pm

A train crashed into a school van at an ungated railroad crossing in northern India on Thursday, killing 12 children, police said. The van driver, who ignored a guard’s signal to stop, was also killed.

Another 12 children were injured in the crash and taken to a hospital in Kushinagar, a town 200km (125 miles) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state. Five of them were in critical condition, top police officer O.P. Singh said.

The children, all between five and 14 years of age, were on their way to school after the van picked them up from several villages, he said.

A railway guard posted at the ungated crossing signalled for the van to stop but the driver ignored the signal and crashed into the train, rail official Sanjay Yadav said.

Shocked parents and relatives of the children rushed to the accident site and the hospital after hearing about the crash.

Accidents are common on India’s railway network, one of the world’s largest with 23 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains.

Crossings that lack gates to block traffic or are not guarded around the clock are common, especially in rural India, with poor financing often hindering efforts to improve safety.