Train hits school van in India, killing 12 children

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Members of the Bar Council, Kushinagar, also complained about the "irresponsible attitude" of the district hospital staff.

The schoolchildren were on their way to the Divine Mission School when their van collided with the Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train at around 7 am, leaving blood-splattered bodies, water bottles and school bags strewn around.

A railroad guard posted at the ungated crossing signaled for the van to stop but the driver, who was also killed in the crash, ignored the signal and crashed into the train.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the accident with sorrow.

Divisional Commissioner of Gorakhpur rushed to the spot.

Piyush Goyal, India's minister for railways and coal, tweeted: "I have ordered a senior level enquiry into the incident".

The Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath visited the incident and lost his cool over protestors and said "nautanki band Karo" (Stop this drama) as he was not able to persuade the crowd to stop protesting and raising slogans. The children who survived the accident also said that despite them shouting the van driver was unable to hear them as he was wearing headphones and speaking on the phone. "The railway crossing comes under Banaras division where the accident took occurred in which 10-12 children died on the spot".

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Lohani said there are now 3,479 unmanned level crossings on broad gauge of Indian Railways.

Five children and the driver, Niyaz, suffered serious injuries in the 6.30am accident and have been admitted to BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, 50km from Kushinagar.

The Railways also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of each child killed in the accident.

The families of those killed in accident at an unmanned rail crossing were reportedly protesting when Adityanath arrived.

There were unconfirmed reports that perhaps van driver was listening to music using earphones and the accident took place.

"I spoke to the Railway Minister and have requested him to find a way out to ensure that such unmanned railway crossings be manned", he said.

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