Two accidents claim 47 lives in China

Aug. 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
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YANAN CITY, China, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- At least 47 people died in two separate traffic accidents Sunday in China, authorities said.

In one of them, an overnight passenger bus collided with a tanker truck carrying flammable methanol about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in China's Shaanxi province, killing at least 36 people and injuring three people, two of them seriously, China Daily reported.

The accident occurred on the Baotou-Maoming highway near the city of Yanan, local authorities said. The methanol truck caught fire, engulfing the bus and causing burns to the injured, China Daily reported.

The other crash occurred Sunday afternoon in Sichuan province, when a van collided with a truck parked in an emergency lane, killing 11 of the 12 people aboard the vehicle, three of them children, the newspaper said. The truck driver was not injured as he had gone to a nearby garage to get a new tire.

In the bus-methanol truck accident, police said the bus might have been traveling at a high speed as it ended up lodged in the truck after the collision. They were questioning the two tanker drivers, who were not injured, China Daily reported. Authorities said they were having difficulty in identifying some of those killed and had ordered DNA tests.

The newspaper said the accidents have once again raised concerns about the safety of overnight sleeper buses and fatigue among drivers driving such vehicles.

In July of last year, 41 passengers died after their bus caught fire as it traveled from Shandong to Hunan province. Since then, the Shandong Department of Transport has suspended sleeper buses in the province.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 sleeper buses transporting passengers on more than 5,000 routes in China, other reports said.

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