Eleven people, including eight kindergartners, 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, the capital of Hunan. The minivan was carrying the children home from Lelewang Kindergarten in the city of Xiangtan, according to Wang Kemin, head of the provincial education department.
Besides the children, the driver and two teachers were also killed, Wang said. According to Ge Jianzhong, deputy director of Hunan Provincial Education Department, an initial investigation suggests the accident was caused by overloading and taking an unauthorized route.
Although the minivan was designed to seat eight, it left the school with fifteen people aboard. Four children got off at previous stops. The accident was not immediately discovered as the area is remote and sparsely populated.
The driver, who only took up the job a few days before, was not familiar with the route and lacked training, said Li Youzhi, vice governor of Hunan. The van was hauled out of the pond around 3 a.m. Friday, with the bodies of eight children and the driver inside. Those of the two teachers were found about an hour later.
This report was compiled with reporting by Xinhua.