December 8, 2009 1:03:06 pm
Eight school children were killed and 26 others injured when they were crushed in a stampede on a staircase in a school in Hunan in central China.
The students were rushing out after an evening class in Xiangxiang’s private run Yucai Middle School when some of them lost their footing on a staircase leading to a virtual stampede amid a crush of bodies,Xinhua reported quoting local authorities.
The stampede occurred as more than 400 students made a beeline towards the staircase simultaneously. The authorities said the stairs were just four feet wide.
The dead were listed as seven boys and one girl,all aged between 11 and 14 years,while eight other students were hospitalised with serious injuries.
The five-story school building had four exits,but the majority of the students had chosen the one closest to their dormitory building because of the heavy rain Monday night,local authorities said.
A joint investigation team comprising safety and public security officials are investigating the cause of the accident.
Police have detained the school principal and executive chairman of board,a man surnamed Ge,and frozen the school’s bank account,a spokesman with Xiangxiang public security department said.
The local party committee removed the city’s education chief Zhu Qinghua from his post and vowed to penalise all others who are held responsible for the accident,the agency said.
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