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Bus accident claims 26 lives in Chongqing
Latest Updated by 2007-04-24 11:00:18
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Bus accident claims 26 lives in Chongqing

Rescuers prepare to lift the wreckage of the bus from the bottom of the gully in Chongqing Municipality on Monday, April 23, 2007. The accident claimed 26 lives. [Photo: Xinhua]

Rescuers recover the body of a victim of the bus accident on Monday, April 23, 2007. [Photo: Xinhua]

An unsafe bridge has also been blamed for a bus accident that has so far claimed 26 lives in Chongqing.

The guardrails on each side of the bridge were only ten centimeters in height, far lower than the minimum height of 46 centimeters required by law, Li Yizhong, Minister of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), said at the scene of the accident. 

"The railings were made of cement but not reinforced by steel bars," he said. "A combination of poor road quality, overloading and lax traffic management are to blame for the worst road accident in China so far this year," he said.

Local traffic police are blaming overloading and speeding as the main causes of the accident. They said the bus should not have been carrying more than 25 passengers. Police also said overnight rain may have caused the road to become slippery and contributed to the accident.

The accident happened around 8:10 a.m. on Monday when a bus carrying 32 passengers, seven more than its limit, ploughed through a guardrail of the Changsheng bridge that spans a narrow gully. It was traveling on a road that runs parallel to the Jialing River on its way from downtown Yubei District to Beibei, in the suburbs of Chongqing, on Monday morning.

The bus plunged 13 meters killing 22 passengers on the spot.

Two others died on the way to the hospital. Eight people were rushed to hospital where six, including the bus driver, are being treated for serious injuries.

Most victims are residents from the two districts and police are still trying establish their identities.

Half of the railings were destroyed by the accident and vehicles have been diverted to a nearby highway.

Zhou Mubing, vice mayor of Chongqing and head of the rescue team, said the Beibei District has organized 32 teams to meet victims and their families, console them and start sorting out compensation issues.

Government leaders, including Zhou Mubing, are overseeing the rescue operation and handling the aftermath of the accident.

The bus belonged to the city's state-owned Yuyun Company. Statistics show the company is registered with an asset of 610 million yuan (about 79 million U.S. dollars) and employs more than 2,300 staff. It owns about 1,350 buses and trucks and operates about 390 routes.

Statistics from the Chongqing municipal government show 253 people died in 202 road accidents in the first quarter of this year. Of the major accidents, 62.5 percent were caused by overloading, which was blamed for about 62 percent of the total fatalities.

Last October, a bus fell off the elevated on-ramp of a Chongqing bridge killing 30 people and injuring 20.

On January 1, overloading caused an road accident that killed nine people and injured 35.

Just ten days ago, five people were killed and 36 were injured in a 52-vehicle pile-up in Chongqing. The vehicles carried 1,000 tons more than their limit, and some of them carried five times their stipulated weight limits. 


Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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