Five girls were trampled to death and more than 30 other students injured in a stampede at a school in New Delhi Thursday, according to reports.

The incident took place at a government-run senior secondary school in the Khajuri Khas area in the northeast of the Indian capital, police said.

It is thought that the students had been told to move from the first floor to the ground floor, through a narrow corridor. Panic broke out when they became scared that they were at risk of being electrocuted because the building was waterlogged and the wiring faulty.

"This is the story we are hearing. We are on our way to the hospital where the injured have been taken and will be able to say more once we reach there," a spokesman for Arvinder Singh Lovely, the Education Minister, told The Times.

The accident happened after a night of torrential rain in New Delhi. Roads were blocked this morning and many children reached school late.

Stampede deaths have become regular tragedies in India, though it is rare for a school to be involved.

One of the worst recent disasters was in September last year, when at least 168 devotees were trampled to death in a stampede at a temple in the city of Jodhpur in northern India.

A month earlier at least 145 people including 40 children were killed in a similar stampede at the Naina Devi temple in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh.

Just weeks before that, six people had died at a Hindu festival attended by about a million people in the town of Puri in the eastern state of Orissa. The previous March, nine people died at a religious gathering in central India when a railing broke at the temple, triggering a stampede among 100,000 devotees.

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