Caixin
Jul 08, 2020 05:20 AM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Bus Crash Into Guizhou Lake Kills 21 People

At least 21 people died Tuesday in southwest China’s Guizhou province after a bus fell into a reservoir in Anshun. The dead included students on their way to take the annual college entrance exams.

As of 10 p.m., rescuers found 37 people at the accident site in Hongshan Lake reservoir, 20 of them dead, including the bus driver. Another person was dead at a hospital while 16 others were injured, according to the Guizhou emergency management department.

Among the passengers, 12 were students. Five of them died, the department said. According to city authorities, some of the students were to attend the college entrance exam, known as Gaokao. This year’s national exam started Tuesday after a nearly one-month delay amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost 11 million students across the country are expected to take the two-day exams, according to state media.

The local police department launched an investigation into the cause of the accident. Du Hangwei, a deputy minister of public security, led a team to Anshun to oversee the investigation.

Local emergency management said the accident happened around noon when the bus was driving past the Hongshan Lake reservoir. Surveillance video released by state broadcaster CCTV on social media showed the bus proceeding slowly before it suddenly veered across several lanes of oncoming traffic and crashed through a guardrail. The bus rolled over and fell into the water.

Guizhou fire authorities said 19 fire trucks and 97 rescue professionals were dispatched to the site.

A local resident in Anshun said the bus is usually crowded as it stops at several schools. But traffic Wednesday was less busy as primary and high schools closed for the Gaokao exam.

The Guizhou fire department said the vehicle in the accident was a new electric bus, which started operation in 2019. The bus wreckage was pulled out of the water.

A person at the Anshun public transport system told Caixin that bus services have been managed by state-owned Anshun Public Traffic Corp. since last year after a restructuring to take over the services from private operators. A person at the company’s human resources department told Caixin that there was no available information about the driver.

A city government official said the rescue works were still underway and more details will be released later.

The deadly incident was another tragedy to hit mountainous Guizhou, one of China’s poorest regions. The province has been among the hardest-hit areas as downpours and flooding ravaged south China in recent weeks.

At least 119 people have died or gone missing across China in devastating floods that hit 26 provincial regions, according to Monday data from China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com)


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