Five children dead after driver crashes into group crossing road in China

  • 19 children injured during lunch break in country’s northeast
  • Police detain suspect who fled the scene, Chinese media report
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 4:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 11:27pm

Five children died and 19 were injured – three of them severely – after a car ploughed into a group crossing a road outside a primary school in northeast China on Thursday, Chinese media reported.

Police in the city of Huludao, Liaoning province, said the male driver of an Audi hit the children at around midday outside the No 2 Primary School in Jianchang county, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

According to surveillance camera footage posted online by Global Times, the motorist was driving on the wrong side of the road when the vehicle hit the group of about 30 children, throwing some of them into the air. The video was later taken down.

Some of the casualties were first-grade and kindergarten pupils at the school, while others were yet to be formally identified, Shanghai-based news site Thepaper.cn reported, citing the Jianchang education bureau.

The motorist fled the scene but was later detained. Beijing Time, an online news outlet owned by Beijing Radio and Television Network, quoted local police as identifying the suspect as Han Jihua, the son of the Communist Party boss of Qingniushan village in Jianchang county.

Thepaper.cn quoted an unnamed police officer as saying the suspect was caught shortly before 1pm. No drugs or alcohol were found in his car, but police ordered him to take a drug and alcohol test.

According to the officer, Han did not resist arrest and said: “I admit, I admit everything.”

Clips posted by witnesses also showed children lying on the road.

An employee at the school said the pupils were crossing the road during a lunch break.

“There were about a dozen or so [injured], some had severe injuries while others were less severe,” Beijing Youth Daily quoted the staff member as saying.

Another witness said they saw ambulances and police cars rush to the scene, as well as children’s shoes and blood on the ground.

A police investigation is under way.

Beijing Time reported that it contacted Han’s father, who said he was abroad and had not been officially informed about the incident. The father, who was not named, said the Audi was his.

Han Jihua registered a tourism company called Jianchang County Qingniushan Holiday Village, according to Beijing Time.

Fatal traffic crashes frequently make headlines in China.

In October, at least 13 people were killed when a bus plunged 50 metres into a river in Chongqing.

The crash occurred after the bus driver and a passenger became embroiled in an argument, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle.

A motorist also ploughed his car into a crowded square in Hengyang, Hunan province, in September, leaving at least 11 dead and 44 others injured.