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China: Around The Nation

At least 36 killed after packed bus slams into tunnel wall in China

Bus hit a wall in the tunnel in Shaanxi province

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 10:25am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 12:34pm

At least 36 people were killed and 13 injured when a packed bus slammed into a wall at the mouth of an expressway tunnel in northern China, authorities said on Friday.

The coach hit a wall in the Qinling Tunnel on the Xian-Hanzhong expressway in Ankang, Shaanxi province, at 11.34pm on Thursday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Two children were among those killed in the crash, according to the report. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Highways around the tunnel were blocked and vehicles diverted, the local transportation authority said.

Photos showed the front of the red bus severely dented by the force of the crash. Twisted metal was strewn in front of the bus, several windows were broken and a front tyre was blown out.

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“The coach was seriously mangled,” the State Administration of Work Safety said, adding that the cause of the accident was under investigation.

Public security minister Guo Shengkun, also urged local officials to find out the cause of the accident.

The coach was travelling from Chengdu in Sichuan province to Luoyang in Henan province.

Sichuan province is already reeling from another tragedy as 20 people were killed and hundreds more injured in an earthquake that struck the region on Tuesday night.

The bus had a 51-passenger capacity and was carrying 49 people, the work safety administration said.

China’s frequently overcrowded long-distance buses are particularly prone to fatalities. There were more than 180,000 traffic accidents and 58,000 deaths in 2015, authorities said in December.

Traffic law violations caused almost 90 per cent of the road accidents where people died or were injured in 2015, with the total number of such infractions reaching an astonishing 442 million.

Last month, 11 people died and nine were injured when a bus carrying 19 people collided with a lorry on a national highway in northern Hebei province.

Ten people were killed and 38 injured in March when a bus collided with a cement truck in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

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At least 18 people were killed when a minibus plunged into a lake in the central city of Wuhan in December.

Last November, a pile-up on an expressway in the northern province of Shanxi killed 17 people and damaged 56 vehicles.

And in July last year, a coach crashed through a highway guard rail and plunged into a canal near the northern city of Tianjin, killing 26.