India train hits school bus, at least 11 children dead
HYDERABAD, India - Agence France-PresseA passenger train rammed into a school bus in southern India on Thursday killing at least 11 children, with fears the death toll could rise further, officials said.
A senior police officer said "11 students and the bus driver were killed", while a railway official said he feared as many as 25 children were dead after the collision in Telangana state.
The train hit the bus at an unmanned railway crossing in the village of Masaipet some 62 kilometres (38 miles) from the state capital Hyderabad, said K. Samba Siva Rao, a spokesman for South Central Railway.
The bus was dragged several hundred metres down the tracks, according to local media reports.
The train was travelling from the city of Nanded in Maharashtra state to Hyderabad in newly formed neighbouring Telangana, which was this year carved out of Andhra Pradesh state.
No one on the train was killed, officials said.
"So far 11 children and one school bus driver died. Sixteen children are injured and have been shifted to hospitals," local police deputy inspector general N Suryanaarayana said.
"The cause of the accident and whose mistake it is we are investigating," he told AFP.
Rao said the school bus was carrying some 38 children from the Kakatiya Techno School in the town of Toopran.
"As per present information about 25 schoolchildren seem to have been killed," he told AFP. "Around 38 were in the bus as far as we know, and the rest are being sent to the hospital."
Deadly train accidents are common on India's railways, whose vast and rundown network carries tens of millions of people daily.
In 2012 a government report said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on the network, describing the deaths as an annual "massacre" due mainly to poor safety standards.