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Head-on collision between truck and bus leaves 7 dead

AT least seven people were killed and 29 were injured in a head-on collision between a Shanghai long-distance sleeper bus and a Fujian trailer truck early yesterday in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Among the injured, two men and a woman were listed in critical condition last night. Two Chinese Americans were on the bus and suffered mild injuries.

The crash occurred at 2:40am when the bus ran into the truck on the Rui'an section of the Ningbo-Taizhou-Wenzhou Highway, according to Rui'an traffic police.

The bus left Shanghai at 7:30pm on Thursday for Fuzhou in southeast China's Fujian Province, and the truck was heading to Zhejiang's Taizhou City.

The bus hit a cement barrier on its right and then swerved to the left, crashing through a guardrail and colliding with the oncoming semi-trailer, police said. The full cause of the accident was still under investigation last night.

The truck driver, his relief driver, the bus driver and four others on the bus were reported dead at the scene.

"All of us were asleep. We felt a sharp shake, and then everybody hit the interior wall," a Fujian Province passenger surnamed Huang told the Oriental Morning Post.

Huang said the crash mangled the front end of the bus and lifted its roof, making escape difficult for those in the front.

Wenzhou sent four fire engines and 24 firefighters to help rescue the crash victims. They had to use a crane to untangle the wreckage in the front of the bus to recover survivors.

The bus was carrying 34 people, including two drivers and four crew members, when the collision occurred, police said. Its capacity was 39 people.

Officials at Shanghai's Hutie Station, a small long-distance bus depot south of the Shanghai Railway Station, said the vehicle was given a careful examination before it departed.

"There are two possibilities: The driver was fatigued, or the bus was traveling too fast," said Tang Yunfeng, the station's deputy director.

Shanghai New Century Transportation Co Ltd, which owns the bus, said the 50-year-old driver had served for two years. "He was a senior driver," said Li Qiang, director of the company's security management department.

Bus station officials said they told all departing vehicles to lower their speed and make sure all passengers keep their seat belts fastened.


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