Jalandhar: At least 12 children were killed on Monday morning when their school bus collided with a truck near Nakodar town in Punjab, police said. The bus driver was also killed.
The children from Akal Academy School in Boparai Kalan were on their way to school when the mini-bus (Tempo Traveller) in which they were travelling collided with a truck near Gahira village near Nakodar, 170 km from here.
The injured children were taken to hospitals in Jalandhar and Nakodar. Four among them were in serious condition, doctors said.
Most of the children were under 10 and had boarded the bus just minutes before the accident took place.
"Seven children died on the spot while five others died in hospital," Jalandhar Superintendent of Police (Rural) Rajinder Singh told IANS.
The mini-bus, which was not painted in the mandatory yellow colour to identify school-buses and was being plied illegally, was carrying 24 children to school when the accident happened, police officials said.
The children had been picked up from nearby villages.
Bags, books, tiffin boxes and water bottles of the victims lay strewn at the accident spot. The school bus was badly damaged.
Eyewitnesses told police that the bus and the truck were speeding when the collision took place.
The impact of the accident was such that the roof of the school bus sheared off.
The truck driver fled from the spot after the accident. He has been booked for rash and negligent driving, police said.