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Survivors stories of deadly bus blaze

07-25-2011 09:56 BJT

By Wang Jingqiong (China Daily)

Beijing - A passenger probably caused the fire that killed 41 of the 47 passengers on board a double-decker bus in Central China's Henan province last Friday, according to the driver.

Zou Jianzhou, who was driving the over-loaded bus, said a passenger had probably brought flammable materials onboard and placed them near the engine as the fire started so unexpectedly and spread so fast that no one had time to react.

"All of a sudden the fire started and it filled the whole bus in less than a second. It was so fast it spread to the driver's seat immediately," the injured Zou said on Saturday.

Zou said he tried to brake, to stop the bus and open the door, "but the flames made it impossible."

"The whole bus was filled with flames and thick black smoke. I couldn't see anything," said Ding Qing, one of the surviving passengers, "I started to scream when I got out and couldn't find my friends and I heard screams inside the bus."

Ding said he and five other passengers boarded the bus in Heze, Shandong province, but finding all the seats already taken, so they had to lie in the aisle.

The bus was designed to carry 35 passengers.

Wang Lingyong, vice-director of Weihai Transportation Bureau in Shandong, said that the bus was scheduled to travel overnight from Shandong to Hunan province and that the records show that when it left the station there were only a few passengers on board.

However, the bus picked up more passengers on the way and at about 4 am on Friday, along the Xinyang section of the Beijing-Zhuhai Highway, the fire erupted.

It took about two hours to put out the blaze.

Family members had been waiting in a hotel in Xinyang since Saturday to identify the bodies. But local police in Xinyang, who were collecting DNA samples at the scene, said the victim's remains were burned beyond recognition and they would have to be identified by DNA tests.

The State Administration of Work Safety and the Ministry of Public Security are investigating the accident but no information has been released yet.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Daily

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