In a heart-wrenching incident, at least 13 children were killed and many others injured after a speeding train crashed into a school van at an unmanned railway crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar.
The tragic accident took place on Thursday morning, when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) crashed into the mini-bus of Divine Public School at Behpurva crossing, said Ved Prakash, spokesperson for Railways.
“It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division,” he added.
Most of the children died on the spot while injured were rushed to a nearby local hospital. The death toll was likely to go up as few of the injured were in critical condition.
According to the officials, the mini-bus was carrying at least 25 people, including children, most of whom were below the age of 10 years.
“Total 18 school students were travelling in the vehicle out of which 11 have died, many of the rest 7 are critically injured, and death toll may go up,” said Anand Kumar, ADG (Law and Order).
Terming the incident “unfortunate”, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the kin of deceased and promised adequate medical treatment to the injured.
The Chief Minister also ordered an inquiry into the incident and said that strict action will be taken against those found guilty.
"Spoke to Railway minister. Prima facie appears to be mistake of van driver, he had earphones on & there are questions over his age too. There are rules in place, inquiry will be conducted as to why they were not followed. Strict action will be taken," he said.
An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur had been dispatched to the site, spokesperson for Railways said.
(With inputs from agencies)