A three-year-old allegedly suffocated to death inside a lorry used to take children to school after he was left inside and forgotten about for 10 hours. Three people, understood to be the nursery school principal, the boy’s teacher and the lorry driver, have reportedly been arrested following the shocking incident.

The lorry is said to have been used as a “bus” by the Zanbei Kindergarten in Baoding city’s Xiong county, in North China. The child boarded the vehicle together with his classmates at 7am local time just like any other school day. However, after arriving at school, the boy was somehow forgotten in the back of the vehicle, with the teacher and driver accompanying the kids failing to notice him as the other children all got out.

Local authorities said they believed the boy had fallen asleep and therefore went unnoticed by the teacher. He was only discovered some 10 hours later when all the children and teachers returned to the “bus” after school at around 5pm, the police said. The unnamed boy was already without any vital signs and was confirmed dead after being rushed to hospital. Doctors did not say how long the boy may have lasted inside the vehicle before the scorching midday heat claimed his life.

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