Over 20 school children reportedly died in the Etah district of Agra division, when a school bus ferrying them to the school collided with a truck on the Etah-Aliganj road. The driver of the bus was also killed in the accident.
Over three dozen kids have also been injured in the accident that happened around 9 am near village Asadpur in Aliganj. However, the exact number of casualties could not be ascertained as the police claimed that the number of school children killed in the accident is much lower.
Javeed Hameed, DGP, Uttar Pradesh, said in a tweet that around 15 children are feared dead in the accident.
Tragic road accident in Aliganj Etah. Over 15 school kids feared dead. Rescue of injured ongoing.
— Javeed (@javeeddgpup) January 19, 2017
Additional Director General of Police, Baljit Singh Chowdhary confirmed that 25 kids had died in the accident, however, Inspector General of Police Agra Zone Sujeet Pandey claimed that the total number of deceased was just 13, which included 10 children, two passerby girls, and the bus driver.
According to District Magistrate of Etah, Shambunath, the school bus and the truck were traveling at a high speed and low visibility due to dense fog could have caused the collision.
India Today TV also reported that the truck, which was on its way from Dewaria to Delhi fell into a gorge as the driver failed to negotiate a curve due to thick fog in the area.
The truck, which had entered the no-entry zone without permission, collided head-on with the bus and slid off the road, falling into a roadside ditch. The driver and cleaner of the truck survived the accident while the bus driver got stuck in the bus and died on the spot.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Aliganj Mohan Singh told Firstpost that dead bodies of the schoolkids, all kindergartners of JS Public School Aliganj, were recovered from the wreckage of the bus using gas cutters. Some of the bodies were mangled beyond recognition and the police had to use the children's school IDs to confirm their identity.
The 42-seater bus had 66 children onboard.
Over three dozen kids, who were injured in the accident were rushed to a nearby nursing home where they are being treated. While schools in the state have been closed until 19 January due to poor weather conditions, the JS Public school to which the bus belonged was open in clear contravention of the orders, according to Shambhunath.
However, the District Magistrate assured that the administration will take action against the school in this case, adding that a enquiry has been launched into how the truck entered the no-entry zone without permission. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his sorrows over the accident on Twitter.
I pray that those injured in the accident in Etah recover at the earliest. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 19, 2017
Updated Date: Jan 19, 2017 15:44 PM