At least 14 pupils have been killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at a primary school in Kenya, local news media reports.
The stampede occurred on Monday at Kakamega Primary School, north-west of the capital Nairobi.
It is reported that the children were heading home after classes had ended about 17:00 EAT (14:00 GMT) when the crash happened.
George Magoha, the Education minister, confirmed the passing of 14 pupils to local news media.
“The loss of a child is very painful. My condolences to parents who have lost their children,” Mr Magoha told Citizen TV.
At least 40 pupils “were seriously wounded” and taken to the hospital according to Daily Nation newspaper. Others were also released after first aid was given to them.
It is unclear what might have caused the stampede but Kakamega police commander David Kabena told reporters an investigation has been launched into the incident.
“We have launched an investigation to establish what exactly happened,” Kabena said.
It is believed that some students hurried down a narrow staircase at the end of the school day, which might have caused the staircase to collapse eventually.
According to The Daily Nation newspaper, some of the children tumbled from the third floor of the building as they ran.
Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter it was supporting the emergency services that were responding to a “fatal stampede” at the school.
The incident gives rise to conversations in Kenya about the safety of children in schools.
This comes off the back of a classroom collapsing in September last year where eight pupils died and 69 were injured at a primary school in Nairobi.
Kenya’s education ministry was forced to close “St Catherine’s Children Education Centre Bombolulu, near Nairobi, due to safety concerns.”
Mr Magoha at the time said, “This is just a start and we are going to crack down on all schools in the country with poor structures.”
The Education ministry this time around have sent their condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in the stampede.
Kenya’s former prime minister, Raila Odinga, has also called for an immediate investigation to “get to the bottom of this incident”.