11 die in China school bus plunge

July 12, 2014 - 12:24:23 am
The school bus is lifted from the reservoir after the accident in Xiangtan, Hunan province, yesterday. 

BEIJING:  Eleven people died, including eight children, in a school bus crash in China’s southern Hunan province, state media said, the latest in a string of traffic accidents that have fuelled public anger over unsafe transport for school children. 

A bus taking kindergartners home on a rural, mountainous road near Xiangtan city tumbled into a reservoir on Thursday afternoon, state-run China News Service reported, killing everyone on the vehicle, including two teachers and the driver. 

China News Service said the narrow dirt road, flanked by a mountain on one side, had no guardrail. All of the victims’ bodies were recovered, it said. 

A series of accidents in recent years involving vehicles carrying school children have made such incidents a sensitive issue in China.

Eight children died in a bus crash on China’s southern island province of Hainan in April on their way to a school outing. 

In 2011, a nationwide outcry erupted over the deaths of 18 nursery schoolchildren after a coal truck slammed into their overcrowded school van in northwestern China. 

The tragedy prompted then-premier Wen Jiabao to promise more government funds to improve school bus services. 

China’s rural areas are known for providing unsafe transport for children in aging vans and trucks, often on poorly maintained roads.