Eleven young children, mostly South Korean, were killed when a coach crashed in a tunnel in China’s eastern Shandong province.
The driver of the coach was also killed and a teacher was seriously injured.
The children, aged between three and seven, were being driven to their kindergarten in the city of Weihai.
Pictures from the scene show the coach in flames and smoke pouring from the tunnel. The cause of the accident on Tuesday is being investigated.
The children all attended a kindergarten at the Zhongshi International School in Weihai, local authorities say.
Ten of the children were South Korean although five of them were dual Chinese nationals, South Korean consular officials say. The other child was a Chinese national.
South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn expressed “grave sadness” and ordered the foreign ministry to mobilise “all diplomatic resources” to keep families of the young victims informed of developments.
Deadly road accidents are common in China and there have been several tragedies in recent years involving schoolchildren:
- In 2014, 11 children died when a minibus carrying children home from a kindergarten in Hunan province crashed into a pond
- In 2011, 18 children and two adults were killed when an overloaded school bus collided with a coal truck in foggy conditions in Gansu province