Thiruvananthapuram: At least three children were missing and most others rescued after a van carrying about 30 primary school students plunged into a canal near here on Monday, police said.

While most of the children were rescued by local people who instantly gathered at the spot, the condition of three of them rushed to hospital was stated to be critical, they said.

The mishap occurred at Channakankara, about 25 km from here, off a national highway when the van was carrying the private school children back home through a narrow road along the banks of a branch canal of Parvathy Puthanar river.

Search and rescue operations by police and fire force personnel are continuing.

The children belong to Jyothinilayam school in Kazhakoottam on the city outskirts.