At least 35 killed in central China bus fire

(From AP)

Local authorities say a long-distance bus has smashed into a guardrail in central China, sparking a fire that killed 35 people and injured 20 others.

The accident site of a bus fire in Yizhang County in central China's Hunan Province

The accident site of a bus fire in Yizhang County in central China’s Hunan Province

A total of 55 people were aboard the bus when it crashed into the barrier along a highway in Hunan province around 10:20 am Sunday. No other vehicles were involved and the cause of the crash was unclear.

The Hunan provincial highway police bureau said on its microblog that the driver Liu Dahui, 41, was held for questioning.

Video posted online by state broadcaster CCTV (Watch the video clip) showed thick black smoke billowing from the vehicle, as passengers appeared to stand nearby.

According to Shanghai Daily, State Councilor Guo Shengkun, who is also public security minister, has ordered all-out efforts to save the injured, identify the cause of the accident, and take measures to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

A work team led by Vice Public Security Minister Huang Ming is heading for Hunan to guide the investigation.

Exhausted drivers, poorly maintained vehicles and road obstructions are generally blamed for frequent road accidents in China.

More than 250,000 people are dying each year on the country’s roads, according to the World Health Organization.

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