Crash kills 40 children in Bangladesh

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The Independent Online

Up to 40 schoolchildren returning home from a football match were killed when their vehicle plunged off a road and rolled into a flooded ditch in Bangladesh. Many of the children, aged between eight and 12, were unable to climb out of the wreckage and drowned.

The driver of a cargo truck, packed with more than 60 children, lost control of the vehicle at Mirershorai, 125 miles from the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

"They were trapped under the sunken truck. It took us some time to turn it over," a district official, Sayeed Kutub, told the Agence France-Presse. "As a result, most died because of drowning."

Reports said the lorry skidded off a road that was covered with mud and ploughed into the ditch. It is commonplace to hire such trucks for transporting large groups.

Road accidents are common on the crowded, poorly maintained roads of Bangladesh. A recent study by the Accident Research Centre in the capital, Dhaka, suggested there were more than 12,000 deaths on the roads every year.