At least 14 children were killed and 21 injured when a school bus lost control and plunged into a canal in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district on Tuesday.
The police said the bus belonged to LV Reddy School, a private school, about 280 km north-east of Hyderabad and was on its usual round of dropping off the children at their respective villages after the morning classes.
According to the preliminary reports, the bus was carrying 35 students and plunged into the canal shortly after noon. The deceased included two girls. All the children were in the 6-11 years age group and belonged to families of farmers and farm workers.
The school, located at Vepalagadda near the coal mining town of Kothagudem, is run by the wife of LV Reddy – an IAS officer who was killed by extremists while serving in the north-east – and seeks to bring good education to the children of interior villages.
The injured were admitted to the government hospital in Kothagudem.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy condoled the deaths and ordered the district collector to rush to the site and conduct a probe into the incident. Reddy also said the guilty will be punished.
A local TV channel quoted one eyewitness as saying that the bus lost control while trying to avoid a speeding motorbike coming from the opposite direction on the narrow village road, and plunged into the water. Some of the children sitting in the back rows survived because the water level in the canal was low.
This is the second such incident within a month. Four students died and six were injured when a school bus plunged into a canal in Eadt Godavari district on February 29.