Bihar: Speeding SUV crushes nine schoolchildren to death on NH 77
Eyewitnesses said blood stains and body parts were scattered at the site, which is part of a busy road connecting Muzaffarpur to north Bihar.
At least nine students of a government middle school in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district were killed and 10 others were injured when a speeding SUV ran them over while they were crossing a national highway after classes ended for the day.
Eyewitnesses said blood stains and body parts were scattered at the site, which is part of a busy road connecting Muzaffarpur to north Bihar, as were some injured children for a while after police removed nine bodies.
“So far, we can firm only nine deaths,” the deputy police superintendent of Muzaffarpur East, Gaurav Pandey, told HT, fearing the toll could rise since at least six children were in a critical condition. This is the second major road accident involving schoolchildren this year after the January 5 bus crash in Indore that claimed the lives of four students. Across the country, around 500,000 people die in road accidents every year, according to government figures.
“The injured children have been rushed to the Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital (SKMCH). Hospitals in Patna, around 80 kilometres from Muzaffarpur, have also been alerted and asked to be prepared for treatment of the critically injured children,” he added.
The driver of the SUV fled after abandoning the vehicle near the spot, Pandey added.
Police said the incident occurred at around 1.30pm when school got over. The Dharampur Government Middle School is located along the National Highway 77 and many of its students belong to families living in a village across the road.
“We saw a truck first hitting a woman and trying to flee as people ran to her rescue. The Bolero SUV coming from the opposite direction swerved to avoid the injured woman on the road and crushed the children who had lined up to cross on the other side,” said Mithilesh Yadav, an eyewitness who is a member of the district board.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to each of the families of the deceased. Two families lost two children each in the attack.
At SKMCH, situation soon turned chaotic as bodies piled up and distraught parents gathered. Several of the injured children were seen crying, as locals flocked to the hospital out of curiosity.
This is the second major accident in Bihar this month. On February 19, 10 people were killed and 35 others were injured on the outskirts of Patna when a private bus carrying a marriage party overturned on the Patna-Gaya state highway.