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India bus accident kills 28 children

November 18, 1997
Web posted at: 10:21 p.m. EST (0321 GMT)

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- At least 28 children were killed and 62 injured when an overcrowded school bus veered off a bridge and plunged into the Yamuna River on the outskirts of the Indian capital on Tuesday, local officials said.

A police officer was quoted as saying that the bus was driving fast and close to the edge of the bridge just before skidding on the sandy road, crashing through the railings and plunging into the river.

The bus was carrying nearly twice its capacity with 112 children aged between 6 and 14, as well as a number of teachers, local authorities said.

Rescue efforts continue
video icon 533K/15 sec. QuickTime movie

People living in huts on the riverbank jumped into the water and managed to save about 10 children. But rescue operations were delayed because sluice gates under the bridge had to be closed.

The driver and conductor of the private bus, which was taking the children to school in Ludlow Castle north of the Indian capital, were unhurt.

Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Sing Verman announced a payment of 100,000 rupees ($2,780) each to the bereaved families, and suspended the school's principal.

"We will not allow whoever is responsible for the tragedy to go scot-free," he told reporters. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.

New Delhi Bureau Chief Anita Pratap and Reuters contributed to this report.


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