Beijing: A school bus carrying students
headed to their homes plunged into a ditch in eastern China, killing 15 children and injuring eight others.
The bus was carrying 29 primary school children and fell into a roadside ditch while trying to avoid another vehicle in China`s Jiangsu Province yesterday.
Three critically injured students died in hospital,
bringing the toll to 15, state-run Xinhua news agency reported
The accident was the third such serious incident
involving a school bus in China in less than a month.
The accident took place even as Chinese government is
preparing to launch a massive campaign all over the country to
prune school bus systems, ordering local authorities to
strictly enforce safety code.
At least eight other children are still hospitalised, a
government spokesman of Fengxian County said, without elaborating on the conditions of their injuries.
The student were on their way home when the vehicle
belonging to a primary school fell into a ditch as the driver
tried to negotiate another vehicle in the rural areas of
Fengxian last evening.
The government said the bus, designed with a maximum
carrying capacity of 52 persons, was not overloaded.
In another accident yesterday, another school bus
carrying 59 students was hit by a truck in Guangdong Province,
injuring 37 students, Guangzhou Daily reported today.
Seven of the injured have been hospitalised.
The accidents occurred only a day after the State Council
moved to strengthen school bus safety after a deadly crash
killed 19 pupils about a month ago.
Schools are few in numbers in the vast and sparsely
populated rural areas of China.
School bus is a relatively new thing in some rural areas
as for decades children from the countryside had been trekking
on rugged country roads on foot to attend school.
But rural school buses vary on quality and safety issues.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had called on government
departments to "rapidly" draft safety regulations and
standards for school buses while further improving the design,
production and distribution of the vehicles.