China: 49 killed in different accidents amid festival rush



Beijing: Four road accidents in past two days have claimed at least 49 lives in China, amid country's Spring Festival travel rush that started last week, underscoring concerns about country's road-safety record.

The latest accident occurred on Saturday morning in southwest China's Guizhou Province, when an overloaded coach turned over and crashed along a 100-meter slope, killing 14 people and injuring 21 others.

The coach, designed for 19 passengers, was carrying 34 when the accident occurred in Congjiang County, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Last night, another bus in the northwestern province of Gansu fell into a ravine and caught fire near the county seat of Ningxian, Qingyang City.

Six bodies were found shortly after the accident, and two other people died in the hospital after rescue efforts failed.

Rescuers recovered six more bodies from the scene of the accident early today morning, bringing the death toll to 14.

Thirty-two passengers, mostly migrant farmers and family members, were injured in the accident.

Also yesterday, a coach carrying 29 people flipped over into a 100-meter-deep slope in the southwestern province of Sichuan, killing 11 onboard and injuring 18 others.

These accidents occurred as China's transportation sector gears up for the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, a time when hundreds of millions of people travel back to their hometowns for family reunions.

A record 3.41 billion trips are expected to be made over this year's Spring Festival travel rush, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's economic planner.

The country's rail network is expected to handle 225 million trips, while long-distance buses will carry up to 3.1 billion passengers this year.

Trains and long-distances buses will be the modes of transportation in 99 percent of all trips.

PTI