Cause of crash sought af­ter bus hits tun­nel wall, 36 die

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUO YAN in Xi’an and YANG WANLI in Bei­jing

As in­ves­ti­ga­tors tried to de­ter­mine the cause of a bus crash that killed 36 peo­ple when the ve­hi­cle struck the mouth of an ex­press­way tun­nel in North­west China’s Shaanxi province on Thurs­day, an en­gi­neer­ing ex­pert has ques­tioned whether the tun­nel de­sign might have posed a haz­ard.

The ac­ci­dent oc­curred at about 11:30 pm on Thurs­day in Ankang when the bus hit the wall at the mouth of No 1 Qin­ling Tun­nel on the Xi’an-Hanzhong sec­tion of the Bei­jing-Kun­ming Ex­press­way, ac­cord­ing to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety. In ad­di­tion to the 36 deaths, 13 peo­ple were in­jured, author­i­ties said on Fri­day.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, when en­ter­ing a tun­nel, the width of the lanes ap­proach­ing the tun­nel should be the same as the width in­side the tun­nel,” an en­gi­neer in Chengdu sur­named Lei told the news por­tal the­cover.cn.

Lei, who has par­tic­i­pated in ex­press­way con­struc­tion work, said the tun­nel and road de­sign at the ac­ci­dent scene did not ap­pear to be rea­son­able.

The bus was en route to Luoyang, He­nan province, from Chengdu, the cap­i­tal of Sichuan province. It was op­er­ated by Luoyang Trans­porta­tion Group Co and had a des­ig­nated ca­pac­ity of 51 peo­ple.

Among the dead were 26 men, eight women and two chil­dren. The in­jured were taken to hos­pi­tals, and eight were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from the Traf­fic Man­age­ment Bureau of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

Ac­cord­ing to Yang Manxue, deputy head of Shaanxi Sen­gong Hos­pi­tal, six se­verely in­jured pas­sen­gers were taken to the hos­pi­tal af­ter the ac­ci­dent.

“Four peo­ple were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion due to se­vere trau­matic head in­jury and two oth­ers had com­pound frac­tures,” he said. “Every pa­tient has a med­i­cal team of one ex­pe­ri­enced sur­geon and two nurses,” Yang said.

Shen Zhan­lei, 47, was taken to Xi’an Honghui Hos­pi­tal and was in a coma when he ar­rived, said Dong Sixia, di­rec­tor of the hos­pi­tal’s in­ten­sive care unit. Af­ter a blood trans­fu­sion, Shen re­gained con­scious­ness but couldn’t re­mem­ber how he had been in­jured, Dong said.

Shen, who had se­vere in­juries to both legs and had blood in his pleu­ral cav­ity, un­der­went surgery on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Dong said.

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety and the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity sent work teams to over­see the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

HUO YAN / CHINA DAILY

Top: Res­cuers check the wreck­age on Fri­day of the bus that crashed at the mouth of a tun­nel on the Bei­jing-Kun­ming Ex­press­way. XIN­HUA

Left: A pas­sen­ger is treated at Xi’an Honghui Hos­pi­tal on Fri­day.

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