Twenty people were killed and four injured on Sunday when a three-wheeled farm vehicle overturned on an unpaved mountain road in Huanren Manchu autonomous county, Liaoning province , an official said yesterday. One of the four hurt was still in a serious condition, but the others did not have life-threatening injuries. Guo Yuanrong , director of the county's party propaganda department, said the driver was not licensed to transport passengers in the vehicle. 'The driver's licence only allows him to carry goods in the back, but the farmer instead packed the vehicle with passengers. That's a very dangerous move considering the balance of a three-wheeled vehicle,' he said. Mr Guo said the incident occurred at about 5.30pm on Sunday when driver Shi Shujun , 40, tried to steer clear of a rock on the road and the vehicle's brakes failed, causing it to overturn. Nineteen people died at the scene and one died in hospital. The driver's fate was unknown. The 23 passengers, including 22 women, were farmers on their way home from a herb-picking trip. Mr Guo said senior provincial officials including Governor Zhang Wenyue had arrived at the scene to comfort bereaved relatives. 'The most important thing is to console the families because the matter is tightly linked to the area's social stability,' he said. 'The second thing is to bury the dead as soon as possible as northeasterners believe the earlier they are buried, the better their lives in the next world will be.' A preliminary investigation indicated the driver was responsible for the accident and the passengers had boarded the vehicle voluntarily. 'The governor has instructed us to stick to laws and related regulations in dealing with the aftermath, and that has set the tone for how we should act,' Mr Guo said. The mainland's traffic law usually requires drivers to shoulder responsibility for compensation if their actions cause an accident. But Mr Guo said the government could intervene in this case if the driver was among the dead or did not have the financial capacity to make a payout. 'It's hard to say, but I don't think we would stand by. We always do as much as we can to satisfy rational requirements from victim's families because maintaining social stability has been our No1 concern,' he said.