ZHANGYI VILLAGE, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — Four children were killed on Monday when an overloaded school bus caught fire in central China, state-run media reported on Tuesday. It follows several deadly accidents involving school buses in China during the last year.
The accident happened on a road in Zhangyi village near the city of Puyang in Henan province, which is located on the northern shore of the Yellow River. The eight-seat minibus, which belonged to the Doucunji Kindergarten, was overloaded as it was carrying thirteen children in addition to the driver.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said four children were killed when a fire broke out in the vehicle, but their ages and identities were not immediately released. Four others were injured, including the bus driver and an unidentified child who were both seriously injured. The two other children suffered minor injuries.
City government officials said authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.
Roads in China are known to be among the most dangerous in the world with more than 70,000 fatalities and 300,000 injuries a year, according to the country’s Public Security Ministry. Many accidents are the result of drivers violating traffic laws, fatigue, poor road conditions and overloaded vehicles.
In late April, fourteen passengers were killed in eastern China when a bus carrying tourists from Shanghai cut through highway barriers and collided head-on with a heavy truck coming from the opposite direction. Police later arrested the driver, saying he played hours of computer games the night before the accident which caused him to fall asleep behind the wheel. He had also taken crystal meth earlier.