13 kids killed as train hits school van in UP

13 kids killed as train hits school van in UP

The site of the accident. ANI/twitter photo.

Thirteen children were killed and seven others injured when a school van in which they were travelling collided with a speeding train at an unmanned level crossing in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district on Thursday.

The incident occurred around 6.50 am at Duduhi Bahpurwar railway crossing on Gorakhpur-Siwan section of the North Eastern Railway.

The death toll could go up as at least three children are stated to be in a critical condition. Sources said that there were 20 children in the van.

Initial reports suggest that the mishap occurred due to the negligence of the van driver who had his earphones on and failed to spot the speeding Gorakhpur-Siwan Passenger train. The driver is also said to be a minor. 

The van was thrown several metres away from the tracks owing to the impact of the collision.

The injured were admitted to the district hospital in Kushinagar. Three children and the van driver were referred to the Gorakhpur Medical College Hospital.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who rushed to Kushinagar, met the family of the victims and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased.

"Prima facie it appears that the mishap occurred owing to the negligence of the driver...he had his earphones on and was also underage," Adityanath told reporters.

"It seems that the rules and regulations for the school vans were not followed...we will probe all aspects of the incident and ensure stern punishment to the guilty," he added.

The commissioner of Gorakhpur has been asked to conduct a probe.

The chief minister also said that he would speak with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on appointing gatemen at level crossings and if possible building railway over bridges to avoid such incidents.

In 2016, 10 children were killed when a school van collided with a train at an unmanned level crossing in Bhadohi district.

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