China / Hot Issues

Bus arson suspect among injured passengers

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-07 07:08

A man suspected of setting a fire on a bus in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Saturday was located by police.

The male suspect is among the passengers who are still in critical condition.

His identity is still under investigation since he received a tracheotomy on Saturday and was unable to speak. The man's actions do not appear connected with terrorism, local police said.

The suspect started a fire by pouring a liquid suspected to be banana oil, a lacquer thinner, on himself and igniting it with a lighter. He was found carrying a 10-liter plastic bottle on board.

Apart from the suspect, 28 others are still in hospital, and 14 of them are in critical condition. The most serious patient has burns on 95 percent of his body. Most patients are being treated at the No 2 Hospital affiliated with Zhejiang University School of Medicine.

Experts from the burns department at Beijing Jishuitan Hospital, the country's top burns hospital, have gone to the city to help treat the seriously injured passengers.

A similar bus arson took place in Xiamen, Fujian province, in June 2013. That incident caused the deaths of 47 passengers and injured 34. The arsonist, Chen Shuizong, who died at the scene, poured gasoline on himself to start the fire on a rapid bus line carrying 90 passengers.

Chen's suicide note indicated that he started the fire because he was "dissatisfied with society".

The motive of the Hangzhou suspect is still under investigation.

Wang Lei, a volunteer rescuer at the scene, said he was touched that everyone at the scene was trying to save people.

After the incident, Hangzhou Public Transport Group checked all of its 8,600 buses. Bus drivers are required to take emergency hammers on the buses in case of accidents. Engines, electronic circuits and surveillance cameras on the buses were thoroughly checked.

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