14 school kids killed at un­manned cross­ing

The Political and Business Daily - - NATION -

SIX­TEEN per­sons -- 14 school chil­dren, the driver and the cleaner -- were killed and at least 20 stu­dents were in­jured as a train crashed into the pri­vate bus in which they were trav­el­ling at an un­manned rail­way cross­ing at Ma­saipet vil­lage in Te­lan­gana's Medak district this morn­ing.

The driver's de­ci­sion to avoid nearby manned rail­way gates to take a shorter route, and fail­ure to spot the on­com­ing Nanded-Se­cun­der­abad pas­sen­ger train while cross­ing, were blamed for the mishap which took place be­tween Ma­saipet and Wa­di­aram sta­tions on Se­cun­der­abad-Nizam­abad sec­tion.

The bus, be­ing driven by another driver as the reg­u­lar one was on leave, was car­ry­ing about 40 stu­dents of a pri­vate school at Toopran in the district.

The chil­dren, aged be­tween 5 to 15, had been picked up from var­i­ous parts of Yel­durthy man­dal and the bus was on its way to the schoool.

"Four­teen stu­dents in­clud­ing eight boys and six girls be­sides the driver and the cleaner were killed in the mishap.

At least 20 stu­dents were rushed to Yashoda hos­pi­tal in Hy­der­abad," Medak District Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice She­mushi Ba­j­pai said.

Ac­cord­ing to the hos­pi­tal, seven out of the 20 in­jured stu­dents are in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

It was a heart-rend­ing scene at the site of the mishap, with books, school­bags and lunch boxes strewn around and in­con­solable par­ents stand­ing near the bod­ies of chil­dren. The bus was a blood­stained man­gled heap.

The rail­way au­thor­i­ties ear­lier put the death toll at 18, but lo­cal po­lice and district ad­min­is­tra­tion said it was 16.

Bik­sha­p­ati Goud, a tem­po­rar­ily hired driver, took a short­cut, in­stead of pass­ing through ei­ther of the two manned level cross­ings in the ra­dius of 1.5 km of the ac­ci­dent site.

"The driver took (the route pass­ing through) the un­manned gate to cross the rail­way tracks as the dis­tance through a manned gate is a bit longer. This proved fa­tal for stu­dents," Medak district's in-charge col­lec­tor A Sharat said.

The train dragged the bus for 50 me­tres be­fore com­ing to halt.

"The reg­u­lar bus driver used to be alert and would watch both sides of the tracks while cross­ing the site where the ac­ci­dent hap­pened," Govern­ment Rail­way Po­lice In­spec­tor Gen­eral Kri­panand Tri­pathi Ujela said.

The Te­lan­gana Govern­ment said it was Rail­ways' re­spon­si­bil­ity to put a manned gate at the level-cross­ing, and lo­cals were mak­ing this de­mand for a long time.

Peo­ple at the site of ac­ci­dent where a school bus was hit by a train at Ma­saipet in Medak. PTI

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