Six people, including four children, were killed and five others injured when a van was hit by a Ferromex freight train in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, police said.

The SUV was heading to the community of El Palmito on the Escuinapa-Teacapan highway when it was hit by the train, which was heading south from the city of Tepic to the port of Mazatlan.

The van's driver apparently misjudged how far away the train was and tried to beat it at a crossing in the city of Escuinapa, police said.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene and three others died while being treated at hospitals in Mazatlan.

Melina Ponce Hernandez, the van's 34-year-old driver, Cristina Denis Hernandez, 22, and four children ranging in age from 2 to 13 died in the accident.

Leonardo Corona Ponce, 10, Cristian Humberto Denis Ponce, 3, Amairani Favela Ponce, 9, Sabina Ponce Hernandez, 28, and Maria Luisa Ponce Hernandez, 30, were injured in the crash.

The dead were related to Gerardo Ponce Morales, a lawmaker who represents Escuinapa.

Ferromex personnel removed the van's wreckage from the railroad tracks so the train could leave the area and also cleared the Escuinapa-Teacapan state highway. EFE