UPDATE 1:37 a.m. EST - Investigation into the accident that happened in Kushinagar in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh revealed that the driver of the school van had his earphones plugged in at the time of the incident. The information was confirmed by a state police officer citing eye-witness statements.

Reports state that a few moments before the collision, the driver was warned of an “impending collision," however, he failed to pay heed and apparently drove on, leading to the death of 13 of the 18 passengers in the van including himself.

The Railway Ministry has also laid blame on the driver. Ved Prakash, the ministry's director of information and publicity, said the accident took place due to “negligence of van driver." The driver remains unidentified.

“It is the responsibility of [the] driver not to be ignorant of train movement[s] while crossing unmanned crossings,” he added.

Original story:

At least 13 children were killed and eight others were injured after a passenger train collided with their school bus at an unmanned railway crossing on Thursday morning (IST) in Kushinagar, a pilgrimage town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. 

According to a report in CNN-News 18, the children, who died on the spot, were from Divine Public School, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. The driver of the school bus was also reportedly killed as the Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) hit the school van. 

"It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division," a spokesperson said in New Delhi. 

The news of the accident was confirmed by O.P. Singh, Director General of Police. 

“All relief teams have reached the spot. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team is also expected to reach the spot," Singh added. 

Expressing his condolences, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced an ex gratia of Rs. 2 lakh ($2,988) for the families of the victims. In addition to that, he also asked the Commissioner of Gorakhpur to conduct an investigation into the matter. 

Earlier this month, on April 10, an accident claimed the lives of 27 children below the age of 10 when their school bus fell into a 100-feet deep gorge in Kangra, a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. 

This is a developing story.