A passenger train rammed into a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana’s Medak district on Thursday killing at least 20 children and injuring 20 with fears the death toll could rise further, officials said.

South Central Railway officials said the accident occurred between Masayipet and Wadiaram railway stations on Secunderabad-Nizamabad section of Hyderabad division at 9.10am. Masayipet is in Veldurti mandal of Medak district, about 70 km from Hyderabad. The bus was ferrying at least 40 children to a private school – Kakatiya Techno School – located at Tupran. Three of the children travelling on the bus are safe.

The bus driver was also killed on the spot. The bus was dragged several hundred metres down the tracks. Mangled remains of the bus and the bodies of the children could be seen near the tracks. The Nanded-Secunderabad Passenger train was travelling from Nanded in Maharashtra to Hyderabad. No one on the train was killed, officials said.

The Additional Director General (ADG) PR, Railways, Saxena told ANI, “A school bus without observing mandatory precautions tried to cross the track when the train was on the track. It is an unfortunate, tragic accident. Prima facie it appears that the driver did not take enough precautions on such unmanned precautions. The driver or his attendant should have got down and seen if the track is clear.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the students who lost their lives when a train rammed into a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana.