11 dead in kindergarten bus accident

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_76194539_023113300-1CHANGSHA, July 11 — Eleven people, including eight kindergarteners, died when an overloaded minivan used as a school bus fell into a pond in central China’s Hunan Province on Thursday, local authorities said on Friday.

The accident occurred at about 5 p.m. Thursday in Ganzi Village near Changsha, capital city of Hunan, when the minivan was carrying the children home from Lelewang Kindergarten in the city of Xiangtan, adjacent to Changsha, said Wang Kemin, head of the provincial education department.

Besides the children, two teachers and a driver aboard the bus were also killed, Wang said.An initial investigation found the driver, who only took the job several days ago, was not familiar with the route and lacked necessary training, said Li Youzhi, vice governor of Hunan.

After hours of rescue work, the seven-seat minivan was hauled out of the pond at around 3 a.m. Friday, with the bodies of the eight children and driver inside. Those of the two teachers were found about an hour later.

The accident was not immediately discovered as the scene was remote and sparsely populated.”It was common for the kindergarten vehicle to be overloaded,” the father of a child aboard told Xinhua.

The private kindergarten has suspended classes. Set up in 2005, it has 180 children and 12 teachers.Li said the government will launch an overhaul of school buses and drivers in Hunan to avoid repeats of similar tragedies.

(Copyright @ (Xinhua) /RSS)