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Gas brought onto bus before blaze: official

AN investigation into a fatal bus blaze that killed 27 people and injured 74 others in southwest China's Sichuan Province shows someone had brought gasoline onto the vehicle, an official said late yesterday, suggesting the inflammable material is to blame for the fire.

Many people, including the bus driver, passengers, rescuers and other witnesses, told the investigators that they had sensed a smell of gasoline before the fire, He Jiansheng, of the investigation team, told reporters. Traces from the burnt bus were also found to contain substances of gasoline, He said.

The bus ran on diesel, not gasoline, he said.

"Therefore, we believe someone had brought gasoline onto the bus," he said. "The combustion (of the gasoline) might have been triggered by a human error or by someone deliberately."

He said explosion can be ruled out as the cause of the bus fire, because no fragments of explosives have been found.

The accident occurred in the morning rush hour last Friday, when the No. 9 bus was on its way from Tianhui Township to downtown Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and caught fire under the Chuanshan Viaduct. The fire killed 25 and left 76 others injured on Friday. Two injured died in hospital yesterday, bringing the death toll to 27.

One of them was Yi Zunshun, a 69-year-old man, from Tianhui Township, who died in the General Hospital of the Chengdu Military Area Command at around 9:20am, Yang Wei, director of the Chengdu Health Bureau, yesterday. The other was a 17-year-old boy named Liu Qi, who died around 5am in the Chengdu No. 2 People's Hospital, said the official.

Eighteen injured people were still in critical condition, said Yang.


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