11 kindergarten pupils die as van, truck collide

Relatives of kindergarten children, who died after the van they were travelling in ran into a truck, cry in Penglai, Shandong province.

Eleven kindergarten children were killed on Wednesday when the eight-seater van they were in collided with a truck loaded with sand on Wednesday in Shandong province.

The van driver was also killed and three people were injured.

The accident occurred at about 7.30 am in Chaoshui, a township in the coastal city of Penglai, when the van was taking the children to the kindergarten, the Penglai publicity office said.

Photographs online show the truck pressed up against the minivan on one side with sand covering most of the minivan.

An investigation is underway.

11 kindergarten pupils die as van, truck collide

There have been at least 45 accidents involving school buses in China since 2010, in which 153 people have been killed, most of them children.

Following a wave of 14 such accidents in 2011, the State Council released strict regulations in March of the following year, setting standards for vehicle equipment, driving rules and driver certification.

However, tragedies continue to occur.

In July, all 11 people aboard an eight-seater minivan - eight kindergarten children, two teachers and the driver - died when the vehicle fell into a pond in Ganzi, a village in the Yuelu district of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.

"The regulations lack enforcement power, especially in rural areas," said Qi Aijun, a professor at Yantai University. The management of kindergartens should also be improved, Qi said.