11 people killed, 20 hurt as overloaded bus skids off motorway into ditch in east China
Vehicle had 31 people on board despite being designed to carry just 19 passengers, state media reports
At least 11 people were killed when a minibus veered off a road and plunged into a ditch on Tuesday morning in eastern China, according to a state television news report.
The 19-seater vehicle was carrying 31 people and apparently toppled onto its side before sliding 10 metres (33 feet) down the hillside, CCTV reported on Wednesday.
The incident happened about 10.30am as the bus was travelling on a motorway through Ganzhou in Jiangxi province.
Nine people, including the driver, died at the scene while two others succumbed to their injuries in hospital, the report said.
A further 20 people are being treated at a hospital in nearby Ningdu county, it said, but did not elaborate on the extent of their injuries.
The owners of the company that operated the light bus, which was travelling from the city of Ruijin to a rural township, have been taken in for questioning, while the public security ministry has sent a working group to Jiangxi to oversee the investigation into the accident, CCTV said.
During the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people travel across the county for family reunions, it is not uncommon to see overloaded buses.
This year, 3 billion trips are expected to be made during the 40-day travel period between February 1 and March 12.
According to official figures, 84 per cent of the people who travelled during the first nine days of the holiday used a motorway.