Four hockey players, heading for a Dhyan Chand trophy match, were killed and three others injured when their car overturned after hitting a tree in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district on Monday, the police said.
The accident took place around 7 am near Raisalpur village on National Highway no. 69, located about 12 km from the district headquarters, Hoshangabad Dehat police station in-charge Ashish Pawar said.
While trying to avoid collision with a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, the car driver lost control over the wheels. As a result, the car hit a tree and then overturned, Mr Pawar said.
The players were returning from Itarsi after celebrating the birthday of one of their friends and were heading to Hoshangabad, where their match for the Dhyan Chand Trophy was scheduled on Monday, he said.
The players who died, all in the age group of 18 to 22 years, were identified as Shahnawaz Hussain (from Indore), Adarsh Hardua (Itarsi), Ashish Lal (Jabalpur) and Aniket Varun (Gwalior).
The injured players - Shan Gladwin (Itarasi), Sahil Choure (Itarsi) and Akshay Awasthi (Gwalior) - were admitted to Narmada Apna Hospital in Hoshangabad, he added.
All the players were enrolled at Bhopal's MP Hockey Academy.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath expressed grief over the death of hockey players in the accident.
"I have directed the officials concerned to extend help to families of the deceased and ensure proper medical treatment of the injured," he said.