kindergarten girl dies in van
Thai school boys gesture from a bus window in Bangkok in January 2014.REUTERS

A three-year-old girl died on Wednesday (11 May) after being left behind in a school van for more than seven hours. The van driver and his assistant had forgotten the pupil when they switched the other children to another vehicle, after the air-conditioning broke down in the van they had originally used.

The driver, Arthit Rangsiyo, 30, had picked up Nong Ing and 12 other kindergarten pupils who live in the Samakkhi housing estate in the Muang district of Bangkok, to take them to the Khlong Krabua school located three kilometres away. When the air-conditioning was found to be out of order, Rangsiyo parked the van by the roadside and asked his friend to get him another van.

Both Rangsiyo and his assistant Sathit Suwannachak admitted that they failed to do a head count to ensure that all the children were moved into the second van. They closed the sliding door of the first van, without realising that Nong Ing was still inside, Bangkok Post reports. According to police, the girl was sleeping on the farthest back seat at the time.

The two men told police that moving the children to the second van was chaotic as some of the children were crying because it was only the second day after school had opened. Nong Ing was only discovered missing when the duo returned to school to pick up the children at 2pm, local time.

After checking with Nong Ing's mother Thanatcha Pajjaiyo, they returned to the parked van and found the little girl's body. Both Rangsiyo and Suwannachak have been charged with carelessness causing death.

Bangkok Post noted that, in 2013, a three-year-old boy in Si Sa Ket died after he was accidentally left by his teacher for seven hours in a converted pickup truck. The truck being used as a kindergarten.