Authorities in St. Vincent say five children were killed and two are missing after a bus packed with secondary students on their way to class plunged off a cliff.

Police on the Caribbean island say a search is ongoing for two girls unaccounted for following the crash along the northern coast of the island. The bus was carrying about 19 people, including three adults. It struck a utility pole and plunged off a cliff about 20 feet below.

The accident was a shock to tiny St. Vincent. Schools in the north were closed and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves canceled a scheduled annual budget speech because of what he called a "tragedy of national proportion."

Police Commissioner Michael Charles said the cause of the crash was under investigation.