Bus plunge leaves 18 dead in China
Mon, 14 Mar 2011 05:09:54 GMT
At least 18 people have been killed and 23 others injured after a bus veered off the road and plunged into a ravine in China's western province of Xinjiang.
The incident took place in Kashgar city of the province on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.
The bus driver apparently lost control at a curve while he was driving along a highway that links Xinjiang with Tibet. The vehicle then skidded off the road and rolled into a gorge.
Among the injured, 12 passengers are said to be in critical condition in hospital. The driver has reportedly escaped the accident without any injuries.
China's roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with traffic violations leading to tens of thousands of deaths annually.
In 2009, almost 70,000 people died in road accidents -- nearly 190 fatalities a day -- according to police statistics.
A study in 2008 warned that fatalities from road accidents had nearly doubled in the space of just two decades and were likely to surge further as more and more Chinese acquire cars.
In China, injuries from road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ranging from 15 to 45. About 86.3 percent of traffic deaths and 77.3 percent of injuries are caused by drivers who violate traffic rules.
Poor road safety has also had an enormous economic impact in the Asian country. Apart from the tragedies that claim lives every year, Beijing spends between 12 to 21 billion dollars, approximately 1.5 percent of China's GDP, on direct and indirect costs.