School van plunges into river, four children, helper drown

February 17th, 2011 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 17 (IANS) Four nursery children and a woman accompanying them drowned Thursday when their school van fell into a river on the outskirts of the Kerala capital, police said.The children were on their way to the Little Hearts Kindergarten. Eyewitnesses say the accident took place at around 9.30 a.m. The van was travelling at a fairly high speed when it hit a stone while trying to give way to a bus and plunged into the deep part of the Parvathy Puthenaaru river.

Bindhu, the helper who used to travel on the trip, drowned in the accident.

The driver of the Omni Van has been hospitalized as have two children. The condition of one of the kids is said to be serious, while the two others have been declared out of danger.

The van was doing its rounds for the second time to pick up children.

The driver of the van, who has regained consciousness, says there were nine children on board.

Normally a dozen kids are in the van for the second trip and the school authorities are getting in touch with parents to find out if all 12 were in the van.

Locals were the first to jump to the rescue of the children and were joined later by the fire department personnel and police.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and other top political leaders who were attending the assembly session took a break and rushed to the accident spot after hearing of the tragedy.

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