At least 13 students were killed and 8 others injured when a school van collided with a running train at a crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district on Thursday.
The incident was reported in the early morning. A total of 22 children were onboard, the injured students were taken to a local hospital. All the children are students of the Divine Public School.
The driver too was killed in the accident, a police officer said.
They were killed on the spot when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train 55075 crashed into the van at Behpura, said Ved Prakash, a railway spokesperson.
“It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division,” the spokesperson quoted.
The unmanned crossing is around 50 kilometers away from Gorakhpur. “An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site,” he said.
One of the eyewitnesses told the media that the location where the incident took place usually has one staff of the railways in presence. However, today, there was no one present at the junction.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath expressed his deepest condolences on the Kushinagar accident and declared an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh to the kin of the deceased.
The death toll is expected to rise.
This is the second tragic incident this month involving schoolchildren. Twenty-seven children killed when a private school bus carrying school children skidded off a mountain road into a 300-foot deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh on April 9.
India’s rail network is one of the world’s largest with more than 23 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains.