An overnight bus crashed into a tanker truck early Sunday morning, August 26, in Shaanxi province, resulting in a fire that killed 36 of the 39 passengers. The crash became the #1 trending topic on Sina Weibo Sunday. According to Sina Weibo:
Yan’an Bus Rear-Ending Traffic Accident Kills 36 In Shaanxi Province, on the morning of the 26th, there was a big accident. 36 people have been confirmed dead. Three people who escaped alive are currently being treated in the hospital. A double decker overnight bus with the license plate number AK1475 collided with a tanker truck (filled with methanol) with the license plate number RHD6962, causing the two vehicles to catch on fire. … The bus was going from Hohhot [the capital of Inner Mongolia] to Xian carrying 39 people. The bus had just come out of a service station before it crashed. The two drivers of the tanker truck didn’t sustain any injuries. At present, the police are investigating the crash, and the state council has initiated the creation of an investigatory commission.
This crash comes one month after an overnight bus crash in Fujian killed 17. A bus crash in Sichuan on March 15 killed 15. In 2011, a bus crash ignited a chemical fire that killed 41 people, one of the worst traffic accidents in Chinese history. Thus far, there is little commentary on the reasons for the crash, but overnight buses have a reputation for being dangerous due to long driving hours and lax regulations. This CCTV report includes an animated simulation of the crash:
A few comments from Weibo:
炫火族: A bitter lesson: Besides looking into who is to blame, we should also think about how to prevent this. Taking a long-distance overnight bus is a big mistake. The interior is so narrow, even if there is enough time to escape, there isn’t enough room.
安其拉之魂: It’s time to cancel this kind of double decker overnight bus.
玛丽小姐说：To those people driving and riding vehicles at night, be careful. Every year, so many people die in vain like this. How can we learn a lesson?
pawaluofei: The time was so early in the morning, the driver was probably tired. Where is the problem? Is it the vehicle, the driver, the management or the system? Anyone can drive. Anyone can buy a license. Who will take responsibility for the dead?