China closes kindergarten after fatal van crash

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 16:23

Beijing: Chinese authorities on Tuesday ordered the closure of a privately-run kindergarten in eastern Jiangxi Province, a day after the school`s van plunged into a pond killing eleven children.

The seven-seater van, carrying 15 kindergarten children and one teacher, plunged into the roadside pond yesterday at Guixi City in the province.

The Chunlei Kindergarten operated without a license and repeatedly against the government`s warnings to overhaul itself, local authorities said. The school had nine teachers and 95 students.

"The school has now been ordered to close and its principal Zhou Chun`e -- the driver of the van -- has been detained," they told state-run Xinhua news agency.

The school van was speeding on a rural road undergoing repairs and plunged into a three-meter deep pond, an initial investigation showed. Three children were killed on the spot, while eight others died in hospital after treatment failed.

The police investigation said the van was overloaded and the driver "drove improperly", which led to the accident.

The report said most of the casualties, aged four to six, lived with their grandparents as their parents had migrated to cities for work, a situation typical across China`s countryside.

Overcrowding on Chinese school buses is common in rural areas. Yesterday`s accident is the latest in a string of deadly crashes in China involving school children.

Last year, a small school van overloaded with 62 children crashed head-on with a truck in western China, leaving 19 people dead.


First Published: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 16:23

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