Fears for missing passengers after Chinese bus plunges off bridge into Yangtze River

  • Two bodies found after bus with around a dozen passengers on board crashed
  • Rescuers find wreckage of vehicle 65 metres below surface of Yangtze River
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2018, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2018, 11:07pm

A major rescue operation was under way in southwest China on Sunday after a bus plunged off a bridge into the deep waters of the Yangtze River following a head-on collision with a car.

Two bodies were pulled from the water that afternoon, state media reported, as rescue operations continued.

Chongqing police said more than a dozen people had been on board at the time of the accident.

Divers had located the wreckage of the bus 65 metres (215ft) below the river surface, news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said the local fire service had deployed 50 firefighters, five fire engines and two rescue boats to the scene.

A floating crane with a maximum 60-tonne capacity was also being used to help retrieve the bus, Sichuan Daily reported.

The No 22 bus is thought to have collided head-on with a car on Yangtze River No 2 Bridge in the city’s Wanzhou district about 10am on Sunday and then crashed through the barriers.

Chongqing police said in a late afternoon statement that an initial investigation suggested the bus had suddenly veered into the opposite lane and hit the car.

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Based on interviews with witnesses and surveillance camera recordings, the police said more than a dozen people were on board at the time of the crash.

The investigation is still ongoing, and state media reported that a bus of a similar size had been brought onto the bridge to recreate the course of events.

Earlier, a witness told Chongqing Youth Daily that a red car had been travelling on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident and the Thepaper.cn reported the driver had been detained, but police later said the car was driving normally.

Video footage taken at the scene by local residents show that a section of the barrier had been smashed. There was no sign of any wreckage from the bus, just oil on the surface of the water.