Deadly ac­ci­dent

18 die after bus plunges into road­side lake in Hubei

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU LIHUA in Wuhan and SHI XIAOFENG in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at shixf@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Eigh­teen peo­ple were killed when an over­loaded minibus plunged into a road­side lake in Hubei prov­ince early on Fri­day morn­ing, lo­cal author­i­ties said.

The minibus was car­ry­ing 19 pas­sen­gers and a driver when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred near Miaol­ing, a town­ship in Ezhou, at about 6 am on Fri­day. Only the driver and one pas­sen­ger sur­vived the ac­ci­dent.

Ma Yichun, an Ezhou work safety and su­per­vi­sion of­fi­cial, said heavy fog, with vis­i­bil­ity of less than 100 me­ters, may have been a fac­tor in the ac­ci­dent, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

The minibus was se­verely over­loaded as it only had a regis­tered seat­ing ca­pac­ity of nine peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to Wuhan Evening News.

The two sur­vivors were taken to a hos­pi­tal for treat­ment, and po­lice later de­tained the driver, China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion re­ported.

The son of Zhang Changzhi, 57, one of the vic­tims, said the pas­sen­gers were all from two nearby vil­lages and worked as out­sourced la­bor­ers for a com­pany in Wuhan, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal. Typ­i­cally, they would wait at pre­ar­ranged lo­ca­tions for a bus that would have them at their work site by 5:30 am. In the evening, it would re­turn to pick them up.

The work­ers were mostly in their 60s and 70s.

Res­cue work­ers re­trieved the ve­hi­cle from the lake, and a work team was set up to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to an Ezhou news re­lease.

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