13 school children killed as bus falls in canal

Hyderabad, March 20: In a ghastly accident, 13 school children were killed and 25 were injured when a private school bus fell into a canal in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district Tuesday, police said.

The accident took place near Tungaram in Chandragondu rpt Chandragondu mandal (block) in Khammam district, about 250 km from Hyderabad.

All the deceased are aged between 5 and 10 years. Seven of the bodies have so far been identified.

The injured were admitted to different hospitals and the condition of three of them is stated to be critical.

There were heart-rending scenes as parents were seen crying inconsolably with the bodies of their tiny tots in their laps.

The preliminary investigations by police revealed that the cleaner was driving the bus, which led to the accident. Both the driver and the cleaner escaped after the bus fell off a bridge which had no railings.

About 40 rpt 40 Students of the L.V. Reddy School at Vepalagadda near Kothagudem town were returning home when the accident occurred.

As there was not much water in the canal, none of the bodies were washed away. The school bags, books, tiffin boxes and other material were seen scattered all over.

Police and fire services personnel with the help of locals continued relief and rescue operations. Senior officials including the district collector and superintendent of police rushed to the scene.

Angry parents and other relatives of the students attacked the school and ransacked it. They alleged that the negligence by the school authorities led to the tragedy.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy express his shock over the accident and directed the district authorities to provide relief to the victims.

IANS