Farm vehicle packed with people overturns in India; 26 dead

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A relative mourns near the body of one of victims of a road accident in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Oct.2, 2022. A farm tractor pulling a wagon loaded with people overturned and fell into a pond in Kanpur city’s Ghatampur area Saturday night killing 26 people, most of them women and children. (AP Photo)

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A farm tractor pulling a wagon loaded with people overturned and fell into a pond in northern India, killing 26 people, most of them women and children, officials said Sunday.

The wagon was carrying around 40 people returning from a ceremony at a nearby local Hindu temple Saturday night, said police Superintendent Tej Swaroop Singh. He said most of the deaths were due to drowning.

At least 10 people were injured in the accident in Kanpur city’s Ghatampur area, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Uttar Pradesh state’s capital, Lucknow. The injured have been admitted to a hospital.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted condolences Saturday: “Distressed by the tractor-trolley mishap in Kanpur. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. Prayers with the injured.”

It is the second incident in the last three days when a tractor carrying people overturned, killing at least 12 people.

Uttar Pradesh’s top elected official Yogi Adityanath discouraged the use of farm tractors for passenger transport.

“A tractor-trolley should be used for agricultural work and to transfer goods, not to ferry people,” he said in a statement.

India has some of the highest road death rates in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people killed and injured annually. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.

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