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Five Dead After Van Carrying Schoolkids Plunges Into Sea in St. Vincent

A van transporting children to school in the Caribbean island of St. Vincent hit a utility pole and plunged off a cliff into the sea early Monday, killing at least five people, local reports said.

The accident happened as the van, carrying about 20 people, traveled to the capital of Kingstown, where the children attend secondary school, according to NBC Radio St. Vincent and the Grenadines and The Associated Press. The AP said five children died and two were missing, while the radio station said seven people died.

Rough waters were making the search and rescue difficult. The nation’s prime minister said the ceremonial opening of Parliament, slated for Monday, would be postponed by at least one day.

“Families are very distraught,” Montgomery Daniel, a parliamentary representative, told the radio station.

Children attending secondary school in the island chain are generally between 11 and 18 years old, The AP reported. About 100,000 people live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, located between the islands of St. Lucia and Grenada.

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— Miranda Leitsinger