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20 Jan 2017

Fog crash kills 25 kids - School defied order to stay shut in cold: Officials

The mangled remains of the vehicles in Etah. (PTI)
TT, Lucknow, Jan. 19: Twenty-five children and five others died after a truck hit a school bus in thick fog this morning in Uttar Pradesh's Etah, a zone where all schools had been ordered shut because of excessive fog and a cold wave.
Sources said the management of J.S. Vidya Niketan in Etah town had been ignoring the administration's order to stay shut till January 21.
Some local reports quoted Surendra Singh, a member of the school management, as telling police that although classes had been suspended, the institution was preparing students for some "cultural activities".
But district officials pointed out other violations in the way the kids were being ferried, including the condition of the bus that collided with the sand-laden truck around 8.30am on the Aliganj-Patiyali Road, 270km from Lucknow.
Twenty-eight children suffered serious injuries and have been admitted to hospitals in Aligarh and Agra. The driver and cleaner of the bus and three men in the truck were among the others dead. Sixty-two children, aged four to 12 years, had been on the bus.
Uttar Pradesh police chief Javeed Ahmad said: "We have registered a case against the school management." Etah DM Shambhu Nath said the school's registration had been cancelled. "We have ordered a probe. It has come to light that the bus hired by the school was too old to ply. The driver didn't have five years of experience, required to drive a school bus."
Nath said the school had also not followed Supreme Court guidelines that make it mandatory for at least one teacher to accompany kids on a school bus. The name of the school and key phone numbers were not written on the bus, Nath added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted being "anguished by tragic accident".
In another accident, at least 10 students were injured when their school bus collided with a tractor in Firozabad, around 60km from Etah. In Uttarakhand's Haridwar, a bus fell into a ditch, leaving six students injured.

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