18 Kindergarteners Killed in China Crash

School minibus carrying 63 had just 9 seats
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2011 8:23 AM CST
Two police officers, front, investigate at the accident scene where a kindergarten minibus, left, collided head-on with a truck, right, Nov. 16, 2011. WARNING: Next image is disturbing.   ((AP Photo) CHINA OUT)
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(Newser) – Tragedy in China, where officials say an overloaded school minibus crashed head-on with a truck in the rural western part of the country today, killing at least 18 kindergarten children on their way to class. Some 62 children and two adults were crowded into the bus, which had just nine seats. The driver and a teacher died along with the children, aged 5 and 6, and 44 others are still hospitalized, two in critical condition. Authorities blamed the overloading for the accident, which left the orange school bus a crumpled and twisted wreckage.

The impact of the crash drove the front of the minibus back into the seats, ripped open the top, and buckled the sides of the vehicle, while the front of the truck was slightly damaged. "The van was driving on the wrong side of the street. Both the truck and the van were going at high speeds at the time," says a police official. News of the crash ignited public anger across China, highlighting an underfunded education system that especially shortchanges students in remote areas.

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