School van tragedy: Van driven by cleaner

via www.kaumudi.com published on September 27, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The death toll in the school van accident at Channankara near here rose to four after a 10-year-old child succumbing to injuries.

Preliminary investigations have found that the vehicle that plunged into a canal was driven by its cleaner, who did not possess a licence.

Three children had died yesterday when the van carrying 23 primary school students fell into a canal at Channankara, about 25 km from here.

The state government had announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the dead children and decided to bear the entire expenses of children receiving treatment for injuries suffered during the accident.

Nearly 15 children are still undergoing treatment.

Police have registered a case of homicide with the cleaner Shibin, driver Jefferson and the school management as accused.

According to police sources, investigations revealed that though the driver Jefferson was in the vehicle, it was being driven by cleaner Shibin at the time of the accident.

There had also been violation of guidelines concerning school vehicles issued by the government after a similar accident claimed seven lives in the city in February. In yesterday’s mishap, the van was packed with children beyond its prescribed capacity, sources said.

The intensity of the tragedy would have been greater had it not been for the local people who rushed to save most of the children.

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