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Published On: Thu, Apr 26th, 2018

13 children killed as train hits school van near Gorakhpur

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1524717703-india-crash3GORAKHPUR : 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.The death toll could increase, police said, adding that the driver of the Thawe-Kaptanganj passenger was among the injured.

”It was an unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra (rail volunteer) deployed there. He tried to stop the van but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division,” the spokesperson said in New Delhi.An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site, he said.
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 eight 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.The vehicle mostly had children below 10, he said.
“I am told that the school van driver was wearing earphones while driving… this is a case of pure negligence,” said a Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who rushed to the crash site to take stock of the situation.”An inquiry has been ordered and based on the investigation, the guilty will face the most severe punishment,” the chief minister said.
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  school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar. The UP government will take appropriate action,” PM Modi said, while interacting with the Karnataka BJP workers through the NaMo App.
India is home to hundreds of railway crossings that are unmanned and particularly accident prone, with motorists often ignoring oncoming train warnings. Nearly 15,000 people die on the country’s railways every year, according to a 2012 government report.
The railways have also ordered a probe into the accident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh to each of the kin of the dead, Rs 1 lakh to those with serious injuries and Rs 50,000 to those who sustained other injuries.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “I am deeply anguished and pained by the loss of lives of young school children at an unmanned level crossing [UMLC] in Kushinagar, UP. We stand committed to take all possible steps to avoid such accidents in future.” (With Agency Inputs ).

 

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