A woman and her four children died when a troop of monkeys toppled a wall at their home in northern India in what police have described as a "tragic incident".

The Times of India reported the family were sleeping outside because their indoor fan was broken as temperatures soared in the town of Wazib Khel in Uttar Pradesh.

Police revealed that a guava tree in their courtyard often attracted troops of monkeys and the primates would jump from a dilapidated wall on to the tree.

As the family lay underneath, the wall collapsed and sent bricks tumbling down on the sleeping mother and her children.

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The Times of India identified the mother as 45-year old Shabnam and gave the children's ages as 20, 9, 7, and 3. An 11-year-old suffered head injuries and a 5-year old survived unscathed.

Tragically, Shabnam's husband died two years ago and the family had been living with her father.

District magistrate Indra Vikram Singh visited the scene and met with survivors, telling the Times of India: "It was a tragic incident and five members of the family died immediately after the wall collapsed on them. We have ensured the best possible treatment for the survivor".

Singh also announced that authorities would play Rs 4 lakh ($8138) to the family.