Four Indian children die after being trapped in a car

The car in which four children died Image copyright Other
Image caption Police said the children did not know how to unlock the car

Police in India say four children have died from suffocation after they got trapped inside a car and could not open the door from inside.

The children, aged four to 10 years old, were in the area to attend a temple festival with their parents and were playing in the adjacent car park.

The children were from poor families and did not know how to unlock the door, a police officer told BBC Hindi.

The caretaker of the parking yard had been arrested, police said.

The incident took place in Tuticorin, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday. In summer months, the port city is very hot and humid.

The children were playing in a private yard used for parking cars seized from bank loan defaulters, superintendent of police in Tuticorin M Durai said.

The gate between the temple compound and the yard was left open and the children went in there to play.

"The children hail from underprivileged families. They obviously did not know how to open the door lever from inside," he said.

"They were not seen for more than four hours. Their parents kept searching for them but did not realise that they were inside the car in the yard."

The caretaker of the parking yard, a 29-year-old man, has been arrested for not locking the car doors and for leaving the yard gate open.

The police were also looking for the yard's manager, Mr Durai said.

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