Eleven young students were killed and three more injured after a minibus taking them to school was crushed by a lorry carrying sand in Shandong province.
The children were all aged between three and six, according to Sina News, citing the Beijing Times. The driver of the minibus was also killed in the accident, which occurred just after 7:30 a.m. on the new airport road in Penglai City.
According to images and eyewitness accounts on Weibo, the minibus was crushed by the large transport vehicle and victims were buried by the sand that flowed into the van through its broken windows.
Photos showed cranes and diggers at the scene trying to lift the lorry and free the passengers.
The cause of the accident is now under investigation. The kindergarten principal, the owner of the minibus and the truck driver are under police custody, according to Shanghai Daily.
The minibus was hired by the kindergarten to act as a school bus. According to local reports, the vehicle should have only been carrying eight passengers, but 15 people were onboard, including the driver.
Former Premier Wen Jiabao said in 2011 that China would improve bus safety after a nine-seat private school van carrying 62 kindergarten students collided with a truck, killing 19 children and two adults. In June this year, an overloaded minibus plunged into a reservoir in a Hunan village, killing eight children and three adults onboard.
[Images via Sina // NetEase]