At least 28 people, including 13 children, have been killed after a lorry crashed into two minivans packed with labourers in northeast India.

Another 20 people were injured, some critically, when the 10-wheeler truck slammed into the oncoming minivans early on Thursday on a highway about 160km west of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state, according to the Barpata district police station.

The minivans, which had been carrying workers to a local brick kiln, were smashed into mangled metal masses and pushed into a roadside ditch. Among the dead were five women. Some had been taking their children to work to be looked after during the day.

The lorry was on its way to the neighbouring state of West Bengal. Police said they had yet to account for the lorry driver, though one of two people who were in the lorry was believed to be among the dead.

Area villagers arrived first at the scene. Local TV broadcasts showed a huge crowd surrounding 28 bodies covered in white sheets and lined up on the ground.

Source: AP