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June 19, 2012

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Probe findsillegalities in head-on bus crash

THE travel website and the bus involved in a head-on collision in Anji County in Zhejiang Province on Sunday, were both operating illegally, the Shanghai Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The 21-seat bus crashed head-on with a tractor on a village road, injuring more than 10 passengers, most of them students from East China Normal University's School of Communication in Shanghai.

They were on a graduation-tour organized by a website called "You Are You Travel," which targets students for vacation trips.

Also on the bus were students from Shanghai Normal University and Wuhan University.

The bus wasn't displaying license plates when the accident happened.

A temporary plate was later found inside the bus.

The website subcontracted the tour to Shanghai Qianjing Travel Agency, a legal agency, said Gu Jianbin, a deputy director at the Shanghai Tourism Bureau.

An investigation is ongoing.

The bus driver, who was critically injured, is being treated in Hangzhou while the injured students were transferred to the Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital affiliated to Jiaotong University on Sunday night.

Two students are still in hospital being treated for rib fractures and scalp lacerations, while the others have been released.

Doctors at the hospital said the two students still in hospital were in stable condition and would be released within a week.

Rushed to hospital

Teachers didn't know about the trip in advance, said Hu Zhanfen, a professor at East China Normal University.

He rushed to the hospital after hearing that some of his students had been injured.

Each student had paid 400 yuan (US$64) for the tour.

There are fears that students are more vulnerable to such accidents as they tend to use smaller agencies who offer cheaper packages.

Xu Meng, a student with the East China Normal University, said he usually takes part in group tours rather than going individually because he believes travel agencies offer a cheaper price.

"Students have no income, thus I participate in tours organized by travel agencies to save money," he said.


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