Friday, January 6, 2012

18 die as Chinese bus plunges off bridge

At least 18 people were killed, including one child, after a speeding, overloaded tourist bus veered off an icy highway bridge in southwest China, local authorities said Thursday.
At least 18 people were killed, including one child, after a speeding, overloaded tourist bus veered off an icy highway bridge in southwest China, local authorities said Thursday.
The 53-seat bus -- packed with 57 people -- plunged off the bridge in Guizhou province on Wednesday, leaving six others in critical condition, a spokeswoman for the local government told AFP.
The injured were rushed to a local hospital and an investigation into the cause of the accident -- which happened in Guiding county -- has been launched.
The spokeswoman for the Guiding government, who refused to be named, said one of the four extra people travelling on the bus was a baby, and the three others were children. One of the children, who was between five and seven years old, died.
The accident happened when the bus was travelling on an icy patch of an expressway, she added.
A photo of the crash published in state media showed rescuers standing next to the overturned blue and white bus, the top of the vehicle slightly squashed.
Investigators have blamed the crash on human error, saying the tired driver drove the bus across two lanes and broke through a barrier before plunging about nine metres (30 feet) into a valley, the state Xinhua news agency said.
The fatal crash is the latest on China's notoriously dangerous roads, where drivers often flout traffic safety laws.
In December, 15 primary school children died when the bus they were travelling in rolled into a river. The previous month, 19 children were killed in an overcrowded, nine-seater van.
Almost 70,000 people died in road accidents in China in 2010 -- around 190 fatalities a day -- according to police statistics.