Police said 13 children were killed after their school van collided
with a train at an unmanned railway crossing in northern India on Thursday.

Area police officer, Ramkrishna Tiwari, said the driver of the bus was also killed in the crash, which took place near the town of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday morning.

“The bus was on its way to school, when it met with the accident. Most of the victims died on the spot,” Tiwari, said by phone.

He said the dead children were all under the age of 10.

Six more children who were injured in the accident were rushed to a nearby hospital.

The death toll could rise as the condition of some of the children was said to be critical.

Police blamed the driver for the accident.

“The accident occurred due to his negligent driving. He was listening to music on his headphones and did not stop the bus to check for the approaching train,” Tiwari said.

State authorities have ordered an investigation while Indian leaders offered their condolences to the families of the victims.

Scores of people are killed in accidents at unmanned railway crossings in India every year.

It was the second deadly incident involving a school bus this month.

Twenty-seven people, including 23 children, died on April 9 when a school bus fell into a gorge in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.