A van has plunged into a roadside pond in a rural area of China, killing 11 children.
Three children died at the scene of the accident in Guixi city in Jiangxi province and another eight died later in hospital, said an official from the propaganda office of the city’s Communist Party committee.
Four children survived, the official added.
The accident is the latest in a string of deadly crashes in China involving school children.
Police detained the driver for questioning and were investigating the cause of the accident, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Photos on the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post’s website showed a silver minivan partially submerged in a grassy pond, with one of its three windows on the right side broken.
The minivan belonged to Chunlei kindergarten, which does not have a government license to operate, according to an article on the website of state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
The van taking the children to school was travelling too fast and swerved to avoid a vehicle parked on the side of the road, ending up in the pond, CCTV said.
Photos on its website showed pairs of tiny shoes and brightly coloured school bags lined up on the ground near the scene and an injured child being treated.
Overcrowding on school buses is common in rural China, where the education system is short of funds and children are forced to travel far to get an education because of school closures.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy said in a statement that cited no sources that the van was made to carry seven people but was overloaded with 17. The human rights group said it took 70 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
Serious traffic accidents are common in China, due to poorly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.
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