Eleven children have been killed when the van transporting them to school plunged into a roadside pond in a rural area of eastern China.

Chinese media reported on Monday that three children died at the scene of the accident and eight died later in hospital in Guixi city of Jiangxi province.

According to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, a Hong Kong-based rights group, emergency responders took 70 minutes to arrive at the scene.

The group also said that the van had been overloaded with 15 kindergarten students - its maximum capacity being only seven people.

Reports say that police detained the driver for questioning and are investigating the cause of the accident.

Another Chinese news agency reported that the van belonged to a kindergarten which did not have a government license to operate.

In November 2011, a nine-seat private school van overloaded with 62 kindergarten children collided with a truck, killing 19 children and two adults. The incident led then-prime minister Wen Jiabao to pledge improvement of school bus safety.

Source: Agencies