School bus catches fire; 8 children in serious condition

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School bus catches fire; 8 children in serious condition
Mumbai:  In a shocking incident, 25 students of CTK High School in Mumbai's suburb Panvel were injured when the school bus they were traveling in caught fire. There were 40 children onboard the bus.

The bus was engulfed in flames after a short circuit. The alert children used the emergency exit to escape, but the ones at the front of the bus were injured, some critically.

The students have been taken to a local hospital, where the condition of eight is said to be critical. One child is battling for his life. Plastic surgeons have been called in.

Parents say children on board the bus had apparently alerted authorities after they smelt petrol. "We raised an alarm after smelling petrol and something burning. The driver came and checked and immediately told all of us to get off. By then the bus had already caught fire and so while getting off, four children got injured and they have been taken to Lifeline hospital" said a child after the accident.

The bus driver and owner have been arrested.

The chairman of CTK school, Ram Seth Thakur, said the bus was a private one, hired by the parents. But some parents said that while it was a private bus, it was being run by school staff.

The bus had the legend "School Bus" painted on it as per Supreme Court guidelines on school buses, but there was no teacher onboard. The apex court guidelines specify that there must be a teacher traveling on every school bus.

Supreme Court guidelines:

The Supreme Court has a set of guidelines to ensure safety of schoolchildren. Here are few a important ones that all schools and bus operators need to follow:

  • A fire extinguisher is an absolute must in the bus and the school name and phone number also must be written.
  • School busses must have a First-Aid kit, in case any child needs or any untoward incident happens.
  • The windows of bus must be fitted with horizontal grills so that emergency evacuation is easy and fast.
  • Buses carrying school children must have School Bus boldly written on the back and front.
  • If it is a private hired bus, a plate saying 'On School Duty' must be clearly written.


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