Bus crash kills 27, injures another four
Twenty-seven people were killed and four seriously injured when a coach fell off a bridge in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality in the small hours of yesterday morning, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Local traffic police said the bus, with 31 people on board, veered off an 80-metre-high bridge in outlying Qianjiang District at 2:50 am.
The municipal government of Chongqing demanded that every effort be made to save the lives of the four injured passengers as soon as it learned of the accident. Zhou Mubing, vice-mayor of Chongqing, arrived at Qianjiang as the head of a 400-people task force to deal with the accident's aftermath while a medical team was busy trying to save the lives of the four left alive by the fall, a news release from the district's Work Safety Bureau said.
According to Xinhua, the sleeper coach belonged to the Qianjiang branch of Chongqing Transportation Group and was en route from downtown Chongqing to the mountainous Qianjiang District.
"The scene of the accident was extremely tragic, with body parts scattered everywhere," said Yang Ke, who was at the site of the accident yesterday.
Yang, with the Chengdu-based West China Metropolis newspaper, said it may have happened when the driver attempted to overtake another coach bus at high speeds on a road slick with rain.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security, in the first three months of this year, there were 117,220 road accidents nationwide, resulting in 23,411 deaths and 118,887 injuries. The direct economic loss reached 490 million yuan (US$59 million). The number of accidents was down 14.6 per cent, and the death toll down 7 per cent over the same period of last year.
And in the first three months, there were 11 serious traffic accidents each leading to the deaths of more than 10 people, in which a total of 232 people died. An accident on February 14 in Guizhou Province of Southwest China killed 15 people.
The causes of the road accidents in the first three months, according to the Ministry of Public Security, were mainly drunk driving, the violation of traffic regulations, speeding and exceeding the designated number of passengers.
With the approach of spring and the May Day holiday, the number of vehicles on the road is increasing. The Ministry of Public Security has called on related departments at all levels to strengthen surveillance and take every means to eliminate potential risks.
(China Daily 04/20/2005 page3)