14 pupils killed as truck plunges into stream

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 December, 2010, 12:00am

Fourteen pupils were killed yesterday when a three-wheeled farm truck their parents had rented to ferry them to school slid off the road and into a stream in Hunan province.

Twenty children, from the town of Songjiang in Hengnan county, were on the truck at the time. The survivors were taken to hospital.

In another major traffic accident, seven people died and more than 20 were injured in a pile-up involving more than 100 vehicles on an expressway in Guizhou's Zunyi county.

The pile-up was triggered when a truck crashed into a roadside petrol station at 8am. More than 100 following vehicles then slammed into one another in the thick fog.

Six people died at the scene and one died on the way to Zunyi County People's Hospital. Four were in critical condition in hospital. One man had had his lower right leg amputated and another was waiting for life-saving brain surgery.

By about 10am, visibility on the expressway was still less than 50 metres, a Xinhua reporter at the scene said as firefighters scrambled to remove the mangled vehicles. Traffic was backed up for about 20 kilometres by noon.

Extreme weather conditions have been blamed for a number of deadly traffic accidents over the past week as well as disruption of road and air traffic across the mainland.

In Hubei, two people were killed and more than 30 were injured last week when seven vehicles, including an LPG tanker truck and a truck loaded with more than 10 tonnes of fireworks, were involved in a pile-up at a toll gate along the Jingzhou section of the Hankou-Yichang highway. Foggy conditions had cut visibility to less than 50 metres, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.

In Chongqing , dozens of vehicles rammed into one another along the Qingmuguan section of the Chongqing-Suining highway on Wednesday morning, killing five people and injuring six, two of whom were in critical condition.