Gorakhpur: At least 13 children have been killed and eight more injured after a speeding train crashed into a school van this morning at an unmanned crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar, around 50 km from Gorakhpur.
Around 7 am, the van of Divine Public School, carrying nearly 25 students, passed through the crossing and reportedly stalled on the tracks when it was hit by the train. An official said 13 children were killed on the spot and seven are critically injured. The wounded children and staff were taken to a hospital around 30 km from the site.
The train was on its way to Gorakhpur from Siwan. The official claimed that a “Gate Mitra (friend)” – a person who alerts commuters about approaching trains at unmanned crossings – tried to stop the van but it was too late.
“He (the driver) didn’t pay any heed, this is a case of pure negligence,” said a Railways spokesperson.
The vehicle mostly had children below 10, he said.
A huge crowd has gathered around the yellow van, which was badly smashed on impact.
Yogi Adityanath has ordered top officials of Gorakhpur to inquire into the accident. The Chief Minister has also announced compensation of Rs. 2 lakh for the families of the children.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among those who tweeted expressing grief over the accident.
“I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of 11 school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh’s #Kushinagar . UP government and railway dept will take appropriate action,” tweeted PM Modi.