NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the tragedy at Mau could have been averted had the school van driver listened to the children's plea to stop the vehicle at the unmanned crossing.
Five kindergarten children were killed and eight others injured when their school van was hit by a passenger train at the unmanned railway crossing.
"Tragic tales from the crash site: the school children pleaded with the bus driver to stop at the crossing yet he drove on. Avoidable tragedy," Prabhu tweeted after coming back here from the train accident site.
The accident took place around 8 AM when the van, carrying students of DD Convent School, Hajipur, was hit by the passenger train on its way to Varanasi from Azamgarh at an unmanned crossing in Ranipur area.
Officials said that at the time of the mishap the driver had earphones plugged.
Prabhu along with senior railway officials had rushed to the accident site after the mishap to ensure relief and medical care for the victims.
"Conveyed my condolences to parents of the victims. Young life has been so cruelly snatched away from us but their memories are eternal," Prabhu tweeted.
He visited the injured children in both the hospitals and paid respects to those who died in the morgue.
Railways announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of the kin of deceased, Rs 1 lakh for seriously injured and Rs 20,000 for those who sustained simple injuries in accident.