35 killed in north China road crash

Updated: 2011-10-07 21:12


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35 killed in north China road crash
A coach lies on an expressway in Tianjin, Oct 7, 2011. It rolled over and crashed on the guardrail after rear-ending a car, killing 35 passengers. [Photo/CFP] 

Latest Update at 7 pm, Saturday

TIANJIN - Thirty-five people were killed and 20 others injured in an expressway accident in north China's port city of Tianjin on Friday afternoon, raising concern about dangerous and congested roads during China's holiday rush.

The accident occurred at 3:50 pm on the Tianjin section of an expressway linking the city's Binhai New Area with the city of Baoding in neighboring Hebei province, Xie Jinrong, an official from the traffic administration of the Tianjin Public Security Bureau, said in a press release Saturday afternoon.

Xie said the coach rolled over after crashing with a car and slid 208 meters forward, with its right side rubbing against roadside crash barriers. The barriers cut into the vehicle, killing and injuring several of its passengers.

Most of the coach's passengers were students from Hebei's Tangshan College who were on their way back to school on the last day of the weeklong National Day holiday.

The 20 injured, including six in serious condition, are receiving treatment at local hospitals. The driver of the coach is still in a coma, according to the police.

The identities of 34 of the 35 deceased and the 20 injured have been confirmed.

An investigatory team composed of members of the State Administration of Work Safety and the Ministry of Public Security has been dispatched to the scene to look into the accident.

The coach, which belongs to the Tangshan Traffic and Transportation Group, has a maximum capacity of 53 people. However, 55 people were in the vehicle when the accident occurred.

Victims said the coach picked up students at Hebei University in Baoding and was taking them to Tangshan University when the accident happened.

"The bus was not organized by the school. We call the numbers printed on on-campus advertisements when we want to take a bus," said Duan Yingjie, a female student who was injured in the accident.

"Many students take the buses because they're very convenient," said Duan.

Tianjin's crash was the most deadly of three major road accidents that occurred on the last day of the holiday. Traffic is often high on the last day, as many people are traveling after visiting their families or taking vacations.

Eleven people died when a truck crashed into a mini-van at about 6:30 am on a highway in Sheqi County in central China's Henan province.

Local officials said all of the mini-van's passengers were killed instantly, and the truck driver was detained after fleeing the scene.

Low visibility caused by heavy morning fog triggered a pile-up that involved 24 cars on an expressway in east China's Anhui province, killing at least six people and injuring 19 others, police said.

In September, an overloaded ferry capsized and sank in a river in central China's Hunan province, killing 12 people. Most of the victims were primary and middle school students returning home for the Mid-Autumn Festival.