Sub Divisional Officer Umrao Singh Maravi said that 18 other students were rescued. Packed beyond capacity with 22 occupants, the van was being reversed near a brimming well that had no curb.
The deceased have been identified as Divya and Hardik of lower kindergarten (KG), and Ayush, a student of Class 1, Maravi said.
The driver, while reversing the van, lost control of the vehicle and it hurtled into the well slowly. The driver jumped off and escaped before the vehicle fell into the water, district Superintendent of Police Pankaj Shrivastava said over phone citing eyewitnesses.
Shrivastava said a hunt has been launched to arrest the driver. The SP claimed that the well, though uncovered and 'kuccha', did have a barbed fencing wire around it which the van broke and slowly fell in the water body just in front of the school.
The well is 25 feet deep, the SP said.
Mourned the death of the three kids, Chief Minister Kamal Nath tweeted: "The incident of school van falling into the well at Richhoda village in Shajapur was very unfortunate. My condolences are with the parents of the kids who died."
"The kids should be treated till they recover fully. The government is with the families of the victims. The incident will be investigated thoroughly, the guilty will be punished and dealt with severely," the Chief Minister tweeted.
( With inputs from IANS )