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Child killed in school bus accident in Idaho: state police

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - One boy was killed and four more injured on Thursday when a bus carrying elementary schoolchildren collided with a dump truck at a rural intersection in Idaho, a state police spokeswoman said.

The school bus was transporting about 12 students, all sixth grade or younger and none wearing seat belts, to an elementary school when the crash occurred at around 8 a.m. on a country road near the city of Nampa, west of Boise.

Idaho state police spokeswoman Teresa Baker said there was a stop sign at the corner of the road the school bus was using, but not on the one where the dump truck was traveling.

An hour after the incident, rescuers were still working to extract the body from the wreckage, Baker said. She did not release the child's name.

The injured children were transported to hospitals in Boise and Nampa, Baker said. The driver of the dump truck was not injured, and there was no immediate word on whether the bus driver was hurt, Baker said.

The bus carrying the children to Crimson Point Elementary School in Kuna, Idaho, was not equipped with seatbelts for students, school district officials said.

Like many U.S. states, Idaho does not require elementary students on school buses to wear seat belts, and the crash shines a spotlight on the debate over whether the safety devices should be mandatory.

California, New York, Texas and New Jersey are among a handful of states that require safety restraints on new school buses. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not moved to require them.

Opponents say that children on buses are better protected by highly padded seats and other forms of internal design elements as they are transported to and from school.

Investigators were on scene Thursday morning trying to reconstruct the accident to determine how it occurred.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website that 102 adults and children killed in school bus crashes from 2001 to 2010.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Writing and additional reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Gunna Dickson and Cynthia Osterman)

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