School van pins child against wall

By Madura Ranwala

An eight-year-old child, studying at S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia, suffered critical head injuries when a parked school van rolled forward and pinned him against the school wall, near the main gate, on Thursday morning.

The injured child was rushed to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Dehiwala, and then transferred to the National Hospital around 1.00 p.m.

The child, whose parents are doctors, was recovering following surgery to the base of his skull, a hospital sources said.

Police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody said the incident occurred around 7.05 a.m. and the child’s life had been saved as two men, on seeing a tragedy about to happen, had slowed the moving van by pulling it.

The driver of the vehicle had got down to help other children alight from the van while having parked it on a slope, sources said.

Asked how the parked vehicle had moved forward on the slope, the SSP said that the vehicle’s hand brake had not been defective.

The sub warden of the school told The Island that the vehicle was old, according to what he heard and the child had been buying some stickers from a seller outside the school before entering the premises.

He said that they had instructed the parents and school van drivers to take adequate measures to protect the children from tragedies of that nature and drivers were cautioned not to get down from vehicles to drop children.

The driver of the van had been arrested.

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