Two kindergarten children have been killed and five other children have been injured after the bus in which they were travelling overturned in the East China city of Gaomi, at 4.30 on Friday, said local authorities.
The bus was carrying close to twenty students, who were on their way to a local kindergarten where they attended preschool. The bus ran off the road in the Jiangzhuang township of the Shandong Province on Friday afternoon, said authorities in a press conference on Sunday. Gaomi city’s publicity department issued a number of statements to press about the accident.
The Gaomi police department and local ambulance service were the first responders on the scene, and assessed all of the children at the accident site. Seven children were transported to local hospitals with serious injuries, while the remaining children were released home to their parents after being examined by medical practitioners.
Two of the injured children died in hospital on Sunday. Three other children remain in a critical condition in the high care unit in hospital, said the Gaomi publicity department. The department said that press would be updated on the condition of the children as soon as news was received from the doctors attending to the children.
The bus, which was not appropriately licensed as a school bus, was being used temporarily by the kindergarten to pick up children while their regular bus was being repaired, according to the results of an initial investigation conducted by the local government officials.
The exact cause of the accident is not yet know, however initial reports indicate that heavy rain fall with resultant slippery roads and poor visibility in the area appear to have played a role.
The owner of the bus, as well as a teacher who was on board the bus at the time of the incident and was not injured, have been taken in to police custody for questioning. As the bus was not licensed, litigation may follow.
China is renowned for having a high incidence of bus accidents, many of which involve school children travelling to school. As in many other countries across the globe, school buses do not have to be equipped with safety belts. This latest accident has stirred up a protest from parents who wish to improve safety regulations on school buses in the country, and are calling for the government to institute mandatory seat belts on buses.