Four children were killed and 12 others were injured, three of them seriously, when a lorry ran into a group of 40 Christians on a prayer walk in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district in the early hours of Tuesday, officials said.
The incident occurred on Hyderabad-Kadapa national highway at Yerraguntla village of Sirivella block at around 5am. The deceased were between 8 and 15 years of age.
Five of the injured, including two minor girls, who suffered multiple fractures and serious head injuries were shifted to government hospital Kurnool.
The remaining injured, including six minors, are being treated at Nandyal government hospital, district collector G Veerapandian told reporters.
He said a group of 40 Christians was walking on one side of the highway, singing carols as part of Christmas celebrations, when a lorry going from Hyderabad to Mydukuru (in Kadapa district) lost control and ran into them.
“While three children died on the spot, the fourth one died within an hour of being admitted to Nandyal government hospital,” Veerapandian said.
Even after the accident, the lorry driver did not stop the vehicle but the police, with the help of locals, gave him a chase and caught up with him at Bathaluru near Allagadda.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the accident and directed the district officials to ensure that all the injured get timely treatment.
The collector said he had deputed his joint collector and Nandyala sub-collector to monitor the treatment and relief operations.
Kurnool superintendent of police Fakeerappa Kagninelli said the Nandyal police were investigating the case.