KUSHINAGAR: The accident on Thursday morning in Kushinagar in which at least thirteen school children were killed prima facie appears to have taken place due to the mistake of the van driver, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said. The CM said that the driver had his earphones on when the crash took place. "This prima facie appears to be the mistake of van driver. He had earphones on and there are questions over his age too. There are rules in place, inquiry will be conducted as to why they were not followed. Strict action will be taken," the CM said.
Adityanath visited the accident site in Kushinagar and met families of the victims. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the deceased. He also added that he has spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in connection with the accident.
"The injured have been admitted to the BRD Medical college. Inquiry will be conducted to nab those responsible. I spoke to Railway Minister about ways to man the unmanned railway crossings," the UP CM said.
Thirteen school students were killed and at least seven were seriously injured after a school van rammed into Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) which was passing an unmanned railway crossing. There were at least 25 people, mostly children in the van.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of the children. "I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar. The UP government and the Railway Department will take appropriate action," he said.
The Railway Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. "I received the unfortunate news of the death of school children. I have asked senior officials to conduct a probe into the incident. Railways will give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead over and above the aid announced by the Uttar Pradesh government," he said in a tweet. An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.
The children, students of Divine Public School, were killed on the spot when the passenger train crashed into the van at the unmanned crossing gate at Behpurva. As per witnesses, all those killed in the crash are aged under 10. Many of those injured could not even be taken to the hospital and succumbed to their injuries on the spot.