China holiday accidents take heavy toll

Feb. 3, 2013 at 11:17 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- At least 58 people died in five road accidents in the past three days in China at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday travel rush, authorities said.

On Saturday, a van carrying 19 people plunged into a nearly 100-foot deep ravine from a mountain road in south China's Guangxi Zhuang province, killing at least seven passengers and injuring the other 12, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Also on Saturday, an overloaded coach with 34 passengers ran off a slope and crashed in southwestern Guizhou province, killing 12 of them, Xinhua said quoting hospital officials. The fate of the other passengers was not known. The vehicle was taking the passengers to a bullfight, the report said.

Another bus plunged into a ravine Friday night in northwestern Gansu province and caught fire, leaving 18 people dead and another 32 injured, all of them migrant farmers.

On the same day, 11 passengers in a coach died after the vehicle rolled down a steep slope in southwestern Sichuan province. The other 18 passengers were injured but a report on their condition was not available.

In another disaster Friday, Xinhua reported 10 people died and 11 others were injured when an expressway bridge partially collapsed after an explosion in a truck loaded with fireworks for the holiday celebrations in central Henan province.

New Year holiday travel is the busiest in China as families use the occasion for reunions. China's new year began Sunday.

Authorities said a record 3.41 billion trips are expected to be made during this year's holiday travel rush.

Speeding, overloading and bad driving are cited as main reasons for the road accidents, which typically account for about 70,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries every year, the Public Security Ministry said.

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