China: 15 school kids die in road mishap
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 12:15
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 today.

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.


First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 12:15

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