News24

Bus driver reckless, says Chinese media

2011-11-18 12:41

Beijing - The driver of an overloaded kindergarten bus that collided with a truck in north-western China, killing 19 children, was driving on the wrong side of the road above the speed limit, state media said.

The nine-seater bus, from a kindergarten in Gansu province, was carrying 64 people on board when the accident happened in Qingyang city on Wednesday morning.

In all, 21 people were killed, including Yang Haijun, the bus driver, and a teacher, and 44 others were injured, earlier Chinese media reports have said.

Investigators have blamed the accident partly on Yang flouting traffic rules, the China News Service reported on Friday.

Yang was driving on the wrong side of the road at a speed of 80km/h - exceeding the 60km/h limit - when the minibus collided head-on with the truck, the report said.

Police have detained the head of the kindergarten and the driver of the truck, and two deputy county chiefs and the heads of the county's education bureau and traffic department are under investigation, said earlier reports.

The investigation also showed that the bus had its seats removed to make room for more passengers and was speeding in bad weather, they said.

Children are often crammed into buses for their journeys to school in China, especially in rural areas, despite strict regulations on such practices.

Parents of students at the kindergarten in Qingyang said school buses had been overloaded for years despite several complaints, according to previous reports.

China's education ministry has responded by ordering education authorities and schools and kindergartens across the country to carry out safety checks on buses.