In a tragic incident, eight children were killed and 14 others injured when a school mini-bus was hit by a train at an unmanned railway crossing this morning due to alleged negligence of the bus driver who ignored warning.
The mini bus of Tenderheart school in Ghosiya township, carrying students of six villages in the age group of six to 14 years, was hit by Varanasi-Allahabad passenger train at gate number 26 between Katka and Madhosingh Railway stations, police said.
The mini-bus was thrown up in the air due to the impact of the crash and landed in an agriculture field, police said.
A ‘Gate Mitra’ was available at the time of accident but sadly the van driver ignored his warning which resulted in this tragic incident, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, while expressing grief over the loss of lives.
According to the ‘Gate Mitra’, he tried to show a red flag to the driver to warn him of the approaching train.
Police said that the driver, who had earphones on, did not pay heed to the warning.
The children, who survived the mishap, also said that they tried to draw the driver’s attention but he was in a hurry to clear the crossing, police said.
Seven children and the driver who were injured have been admitted to different hospitals. Those suffering serious injuries have been referred to BHU hospital in Varanasi, police said adding that senior administration and police officials were on the spot.
Superintendent of Police Arvind Bhushan Pandey said that an FIR will be lodged against the school management.
Seven of the deceased have been identified as Naitik (6), Abhishek (10), Shubham (6), Pradumn Tewari (14), Swati Misra (10), Sakshi (7) and Rinku (8), police said.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased and free treatment for the injured, District Magistrate Prakash Vindu said.
Prabhu also announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of those killed, Rs 1 lakh for those seriously injured and Rs 20,000 for those with simple injuries.
Railways has deployed more than 4000 ‘Gate Mitra’ or gate counsellors at unmanned level crossings, identified as vulnerable, to strengthen passenger safety and prevent accidents.
There are a total of 4,188 Gate Mitras deployed across the country.