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Kushinagar Accident: UP CM Yogi Adityanath Says Van Driver Was Wearing Headphones, Maybe a Minor

CM Yogi, while raising doubts about the driver’s age, also said that the accused was wearing headphones. The accident left 14 children dead and seven others injured.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:April 26, 2018, 3:34 PM IST

Lucknow: UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has said that the accident, wherein a van was hit by a train in Kushinagar’s unmanned railway crossing, was the driver’s mistake.

CM Yogi, while raising doubts about the driver’s age, also said that the accused was wearing headphones. The accident left 14 children dead and seven others injured.

“I spoke to the Railways minister on ways to man the unmanned railway crossing. Prima facie it appears to be a mistake of the van driver. He had earphones on and there are questions about his age too. An inquiry will be conducted as to why the rules were not followed. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty," said Yogi Adityanath, after he visited the accident spot.

Media reports have been quoting an anonymous eye-witness, who was riding his bike near the track when the accident took place. “The driver of the train repeatedly honked but the van driver could not hear it because of his headphones. On collision, the van was thrown almost 100 metres away from the track. The train driver tried to apply the brake but the speed of the train was such that a collision could not be averted.

Chief Public Relations Officer of North Eastern Railway, Sanjay Yadav said, "Prima facie it appears to be the fault of the van driver. As per the rules for an unmanned crossing, the driver of the vehicle should have stopped and looked, before crossing the railway line. Here it seems the van driver tries to cross in a hurry. An inquiry from our side has been ordered."

Fourteen children were killed and eight others injured when their school van was hit by a train at an unmanned railway crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar area, around 50km from Gorakhpur, on Thursday morning.

The children, students of Divine Public School, were killed on the spot when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) crashed into the van at an unmanned crossing gate at Behpurva, said Railways spokesman Ved Prakash. The train was on way to Gorakhpur from Siwan.

There were at least 25 people, including children who were below the age of 10 years, the official said.

"It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to intervene but the unfortunate incident took place at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division," the spokesperson said in New Delhi.

An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site, he said. Injured children were rushed to Pandrauna Hospital which is 30 km from the accident site.

Expressing condolence, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced ex-gratia of Rs two lakh for the families of the victims and directed Gorakhpur commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the accident.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, too, expressed his grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the kin of the victims.

"I am saddened by the news of school children dying in a train accident. I have spoken to senior railway officials and ordered an inquiry into it," Goyal said in a tweet.

This is the second such accident to claim lives of school children this month. On April 10, 27 children below the age of 10 had died when their school bus fell into a 100-feet deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra.

| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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