New Delhi: Thirteen people were killed and six injured when a van carrying 23 Village Administrative Officers (VAOs) was rammed by a train at an unmanned level crossing near Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, on Monday morning.
The officers were on their way to Chennai to attend a rally to thank Chief Minister M Karunanidhi when they saw a temple past the unmanned level crossing. The VAOs then asked the driver to take them towards the shrine.
The driver took a turn from the main road to the temple and tried to cross the track but did not notice the speeding train, which hit the vehicle, killing 13 of them on the spot.
The remaining injured were immediately rushed to the district headquarters hospital at Kancheepuram, where their condition was reported to be serious.
Police officials were quoted as saying by the agencies that 11 bodies had been brought to the district headquarters hospital at Kancheepuram, of which five had been identified. Among them was the body of a small boy, who might have been one of the sons of the VAOs, they said.
Some workers at the shrine were also quoted as saying that they had seen the approaching train and warned the driver against trying to cross the track.
(With agency inputs)