CHENGDU -- The death toll from the highway accident in Southwest China's Sichuan Province 12 days ago rose to 18, as search continues for the last three missing people, said local government sources.
A spokesman of the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Work Safety on Tuesday said, "The chance is slim for the three missing people to survive", but the local government of Kangding County vowed to continue the search for the missing people.
The accident occurred around 1:30 am on September 13 in Gonggashan Township of Kangding County, capital of Sichuan's far-flung Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, when a van carrying 31 people plunged into a river.
The passengers were all migrant workers of a local tungsten and stannum mine.
Four people escaped the accident safe and sound. Of the six injured people, five were in a stable condition and one has been discharged from hospital, according to doctors.
Police have detained Liao Yongzhi, driver of the van, who was suspected of carrying people illegally with a cargo van.
Sichuan, a mountainous region, sees on average 150 road accidents each with fatalities above three each year.