Chinese state media report eight students have been killed and 26 others injured during a stampede down a narrow stairway in a middle school in central China.The official Xinhua news agency says students were rushing out of an evening class late Monday when the incident occurred at a private boarding school in Hunan province's Xiangxiang city.
State broadcaster CCTV says more than 400 students were exiting classrooms through an enclosed stairwell just 1.2 meters wide when some lost their footing.
Seven boys and one girl aged 11 to 14 were killed, and another five were seriously injured.Xinhua said that most classes resumed Tuesday, but not before students and teachers - many in tears - stood in tribute to remember the dead.
A local police spokesman tells Xinhua that authorities have detained the school principal, and frozen the establishment's bank account. The city's education chief has also been removed from his post.
State media quoted a school official who said the five-story school building has four exits, but most students chose the one closest to the dormitories because of heavy rain.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.