Two bus accidents claim 33, injure 56
SHENZHEN: Two major road accidents in South and Central China have killed 33 people and injured 56 others.
On Tuesday night, a kindergarten bus killed 19 people and injuring 16 in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, when it swerved to avoid a bicycle and crashed onto a pavement crowded with snack vendors, workers and couples on an outdoor dance floor.
Yesterday, a bus crash in Lichuan, a city in Central China's Hubei Province, left a further 14 dead.
The accident in Shenzhen happened at 8:25 pm when the bus driver, a 24-year-old man surnamed Li, swerved to avoid a cyclist and ploughed onto the crowded pavement.
The driver, now in police custody, and a male teacher, the only passenger aboard, were both uninjured in the accident.
Witnesses say the bus was crossing an intersection at a bridge as the lights changed when a cyclist pulled out in front of it.
After careering 75 metres along the pavement, the bus came to a halt after crashing into barriers stopping it from falling into the river below.
Nine people were declared dead at the scene. Ten others had been declared dead at a nearby hospital by 2 am yesterday. Thirteen of the victims were men.
Most of the 16 injured, three of whom went to the hospital by themselves, were in a stable condition.
Twelve of the dead have been identified, local authorities said yesterday, but their names have not yet been released.
Three of the victims were workers at a nearby factory owned by Foxconn, a Taiwan-funded electronics manufacturer.
Police said Li was familiarizing himself with the kindergarten bus route he was due to start driving yesterday.
Since no skid marks were found at the scene, police said Li may have mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The accident is the worst since Shenzhen became a city in 1979.
In Lichuan, a city in Central China's Hubei Province, another traffic accident involving a bus killed 14 passengers yesterday, Xinhua reported.
More than 40 people were hurt, including nine who are in a critical condition, local police said.
The accident happened at 6:50 am on a section of State Highway 318 in Moudao Township.
A bus from Wenling, a city in East China's Zhejiang Province, crashed through the roadside barrier and slid down a 100-metre bank.
The driver of the bus, Song Fuming, and bus owner Chen Xingming, both from Chongqing Municipality, were seriously hurt in the accident.
The cause of the crash is being investigated.
(China Daily 08/25/2005 page2)