WUHAN - A survivor of a road crash that killed 23 people on Monday has spoken of how her hero husband was swallowed by a raging bus blaze.
Lu Yufeng, 22, and her younger sister were among 29 people who escaped from the accident, which occurred at about 3:50 am on the Suizhou-Yueyang Highway in Hubei province.
A victim of the fatal bus crash is comforted by family at a hospital in Xiantao, Hubei province. [Provided to China Daily]
Police say the long-distance coach they were traveling on was hit from behind at high speed by a truck close to Xiantao. Both vehicles then caught fire.
"I remember just before the crash I was sitting alone in front of the bus, and my husband and sister were sitting together in the back," she said at Tianmen No 3 Hospital on Tuesday. "They were both sleeping deeply."
She recalled that a female passenger had asked the driver to get off, so he stopped and opened the door. The massive collision came just minutes later, with both vehicles careering off the expressway.
"At first the fire was not so big, so my husband (Zhang Chao) pulled my sister out and then helped rescue another passenger," said Lu. However, the blaze grew quickly and 26-year-old Zhang was unable to escape in time.
During the interview, Lu's attention kept drifting and several times she began muttering: "Where are you? Where are you?"
Lu's 16-year-old sister was lying close by. "I'd just finished my secondary school examinations and was visiting my sister's home in Guangzhou," she said. She did not want her name used.
Zhang Meirong, Zhang Chao's elder sister, said her brother and his wife run a clothing business in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, but had been visiting family.
The bodies of those killed were transferred to Xiantao on Tuesday, where relatives have begun to gather. DNA tests will be carried out to identify the victims.
Chen, a Hubei highway worker who did not give his full name, said his team has been on duty for 24 hours to clear the wreckage from the road. "The section where the accident happened will reopen on Wednesday," he said.