23 Children Dead After School Bus Plunges Off Steep Cliff

April 12, 2018 10:36 am Last Updated: April 12, 2018 11:12 am

At least 27 people are dead, including 23 children, after a school bus crashed, plunging deep into a gorge in the Himalayan foothills in India, according to reports this week.

At least 10 children were hospitalized with injuries, CBS News reported.

CBS reported that the bus driver had been speeding and lost control of the bus near the edge of the gorge. The bus fell some 200 feet, police said.

“The bus rolled into a 200 feet-deep (60-meter) gorge, killing 27 schoolchildren, two teachers and the driver,” a senior police official, Santosh Patialma, told AFP. Most of the students were between the ages of 10 and 12, he said, adding they came from a local school.

The bus driver, two teachers, and a woman also died in the crash.

“We have identified all the children and parents have been informed about the disaster,” police officer Ram Nath Singh told the Reuters news agency.

The incident prompted comments from India’s leaders.

“I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter. “My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones.”

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind also mentioned it in a tweet. “Extremely saddened to learn about the tragic school bus accident in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. Thoughts and prayers with the bereaved families and with those injured.”

As reported by AFP, the state government said that 500,000 rupees ($7,700) will be given out as compensation for each victim’s family.

The search for survivors ended late on Monday night, and the bodies of the dead were seen lying on the concrete floor of a nearby mortuary, covered by sheets, The Associated Press reported.

At least 150,000 people are killed each year in traffic-related accidents in India. Many blame the poor condition of the roads, reckless driving, and badly maintained vehicles for the high annual death toll, AFP noted.

Several weeks ago, 30 people died when a truck carrying a wedding party drove off a bridge in the western portion of India. Mostly women and children were the casualties in that accident, AFP noted.

Other details about the crash have not yet been made clear in local reports.

 

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