- 15 elementary students dead and eight others hurt in Jiangsu province, eastern China
- The bus was taking students home when it overturned and slammed into a ditch
- State-run Xinhua news agency reported that the bus had attempted to avoid a pedicab
- It said some of the trapped students drowned, as water from the ditch flooded the bus
A school bus accident in eastern China left 15 elementary students dead and eight others hurt, the latest in a series of deadly crashes involving children, local government officials said Tuesday.
The bus had been taking the students home on Monday afternoon when it overturned and slammed into a ditch in Feng county, Jiangsu province, officials confirmed in a faxed statement to CNN.
The injured students were taken to nearby hospitals in the area, with at least one child reported to have serious injuries.
State-run Xinhua news agency said the bus had attempted to avoid a pedicab but ended up crashing into the ditch, which was filled with around 60 centimeters of water. It said some of the trapped students on the bus were drowned or suffocated as water rushed in.
The bus was carrying 29 students on board when the accident happened. The driver, who suffered only minor injuries, has been detained by the police, Xinhua said.
Last month, 19 children were killed when a nine-seat school bus packed with 64 passengers collided with a truck in Gansu, northwestern China.
This triggered widespread anger across China about the safety of school buses.
Premier Wen Jiabao intervened to call on relevant government departments to "rapidly" create safety regulations and standards for the country's school buses while further improving the design, production, and distribution of the vehicles, state-run CCTV said.
Earlier this week, the State Council in Beijing published draft guidance aimed at establishing safety standards for school buses. The draft demands local government, schools and bus drivers strictly obey safety regulations, including safety checks every six months.