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October 10, 2011

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Lots of blame in deadly crash

ILLEGAL parking on the expressway, speeding, and a lack of supervision on road safety are to blame for the city's fatal bus accident that killed 11 and injured 13 on an expressway in the Pudong New Area on September 14, an investigation report said yesterday.

According to the report, the accident occurred when a minivan suddenly stopped and was left illegally parked in a passing lane of the expressway on the Outer Ring Road between Longdong Avenue and Jinhai Road at 8:53pm on September 14.

The bus, which carried 24 people, was illegally speeding in the same lane, hit the rear of the van and lost control, said the report issued by the Work Safety Committee Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet.

According to witnesses, the bus made an abrupt turn to the right after hitting the van and crashed into the railing on the right edge of the highway. Some passengers were thrown out of the overturned bus and were crushed between the bus and the railing, leaving a grisly scene.

Seven of the passengers died at the scene while the other four died in hospitals. The passengers were mostly young people in their early 20s with the youngest only 17, who were workers of Inventec (Shanghai) Corp, a major laptop and server manufacturer.

The bus was taking the workers back to the company in Minhang District after about 10 hours' work at a factory in Pudong New Area, when the accident happened.

The accident has exposed problems in traffic control as authorities fail to stop vehicles from speeding or engaging in other illegal tactics, and some drivers have little awareness about safe driving and don't know how to react in emergencies, the report said.

According to the report, the work safety committee office will impose punishment to those held responsible for the accident. The report said the result would be published as soon as it comes out.

Some injured workers and their colleagues are still working for the company, taking the same buses to shuttle between their dormitories and the company every morning and afternoon. Some workers told Shanghai Daily that the company has made some improvements to their buses.

"Finally I can stand freely and make a phone call in the bus. The bus used to be so crowded with over 100 people sticking to each other in the limited space that I can hardly take a breath," said 23-year-old Li Zhiqiang, a worker whose roommate broke several bones on his feet in the accident.

Li said the company now strictly controls the number of passengers on the bus, not allowing it to be overloaded. The new limit is 47, Li said, reporting that there were about 40 passengers on his bus yesterday.

Although company officials said compensations to the injured or dead workers were under plan, Li and his colleagues said they had not yet heard about compensation and didn't know how much money they would be paid.


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