Minibus carrying preschoolers collides with truck in NW China, killing 20

November 16th, 2011 - 8:09 pm ICT by BNO News  

QINGYANG, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — At least 20 people were killed on early Wednesday morning when a minibus carrying preschoolers from a kindergarten was involved in an accident in northwestern China, the government said.

The accident happened at around 9.15 a.m. local time when the minibus collided head-on with a truck carrying coal on a road in Yulinzi township of Zhengning county, which is located near Qingyang city in Gansu province. The minibus was carrying 64 people, most of them children from Yulinzi’s Little Doctor Kindergarten, even though it was designed for only nine people.

A spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety said at least 20 people were killed as a result of the accident, including 18 preschoolers, the minibus driver and another adult. Officials fear the death toll could rise as 13 of the 44 injured are in a serious or critical condition.

Although Chinese officials immediately blamed the accident on overloading, a photo released by Chinese media showed the truck may have entered the lane of the minibus before the collision happened.

Roads in China are known to be among the most dangerous in the world with more than 70,000 fatalities in 2009 alone. Many accidents are the result of drivers violating traffic laws, bad road conditions and overloaded vehicles.

The deadliest accident so far this year happened on July 22 when an overcrowded double-decker bus caught fire on a highway in the city of Xinyang in Henan Province, killing 41 people and injuring the only six survivors.

And on October 7, a total of 35 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a passenger bus overturned on an expressway in Tianjin, a metropolis located in northern China, after colliding with a car.

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