Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Death toll in China school bus crash climbs to 15

Photo taken on Dec. 13, 2011 shows a pen left on the accident site of a school bus crash in Fengxian county of Xuzhou city, east China's Jiangsu Province. The death toll in Monday's school bus crash in Fengxian county has climbed to 15, with three more students confirmed dead in hospital early Tuesday, the local government said. The bus had 29 students on board when it overturned. (Xinhua/Liu Zhaoquan)
The accident was the third serious one involving a school bus in China in less than a month.
At least eight other children are still hospitalized, a government spokesman of Fengxian County said, without elaborating on the conditions of their injuries.
A bus carrying 29 students on their way home fell into a roadside ditch when the driver tried to avoid a pedicab in the rural areas of Fengxian at 5:50 p.m. on Monday.
The bus belonged to a primary school in Shouxian township. The government said the bus, designed with a maximum carrying capacity of 52 persons, was not overloaded.
Also on Monday, another school bus carrying 59 students was badly hit by a truck in the city of Foshan, Guangdong Province, injuring 37 students, Guangzhou Daily reported Tuesday. Seven of the injured had been hospitalized.
The accidents occurred only a day after the State Council moved to strengthen school bus safety after a deadly crash killed 19 pupils about a month ago.
The nine-seat school bus illegally carrying 64 people collided head-on with a coal truck in northwestern Gansu Province on Nov. 16, killing 19 preschoolers and two adults, and injuring 43 others.
Schools are few in numbers in the vast and sparsely populated rural areas of China. School bus is a relatively new thing in some rural areas as for decades children from the countryside had been trekking on rugged countryroads on foot to attend school. But rural school buses varied on quality and safety.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had called on government departments to "rapidly" draft safety regulations and standards for school buses while further improving the design, production and distribution of the vehicles.