9 schoolchildren killed in road accident in India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Nine schoolchildren were killed and 20 others injured when a school bus collided with a truck in northern India on Tuesday, police said.

Police officer Vishnu Khatri says the crash happened early Tuesday as the bus carrying around 30 children collided head-on with a truck in Hanumangarh in Rajasthan state.

At least seven children died instantly, while two others died in a nearby hospital, Khatri said.

Police have launched a search for the drivers of both vehicles who fled after the accident.

Local residents said the bus driver was trying to overtake another vehicle when the bus crashed into the truck coming from the opposite side.

Hanumangarh is about 350 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of New Delhi.

India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organization. More than 110,000 people are killed every year in road accidents across India, according to police.

Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.

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