Overcrowded School Van Crashes in China, Killing 18 Kindergarteners

November 16, 2011 Updated: November 16, 2011
Chinese police stand beside a damaged school bus
Police stand beside a damaged minivan school bus after it collided with a red truck on a road in the Yulinzi township in northwest China's Gansu Province on Nov. 16. Twenty people, 18 of them children, were killed in the head-on collision between the overloaded school bus and the truck, local authorities and state media said. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Eighteen preschoolers and two adults riding in an overloaded school bus died in a head-on collision with a truck in Yulinzi Township, Qingyang City of China’s northwestern Gansu Province on the morning of Nov. 16. Another 44 children were injured and hospitalized, with 12 of the injured being in serious condition.

The nine-seat minivan school bus was overloaded with 64 passengers, all of them kindergartners except for the two adults, according to state media Xinhua.

About a dozen workers from a nearby brick factory immediately rushed to the accident scene to rescue the children.

One of the workers told The Epoch Times when he saw the horrifying accident he was so shocked that he couldn’t keep his legs from shaking. It took him a while to control himself and start helping the children.

“My heart ached when I saw the scene. I don’t even dare to recall it now. I’ve never seen a big accident like this before,” he said.

Another worker said the minivan and truck were driving very fast before colliding. The driver of the school van was thrown from his seat and died on the spot, and many children were pronounced dead at the scene. The surviving children were frightened and crying for their parents or grandparents.

“One child was seriously injured, with the face and skull skinned. Most were bleeding. Our bodies and hands were all stained with blood too,” he said.

The 44 injured children were sent to different hospitals. The Epoch Times called Zhengning County People’s Hospital and was told that they had received many injured children but were not in a position to comment further.

Netizens expressed their dismay over the accident and the negligence of cramming 64 passengers into a nine-seat minivan.

One person said: “I have no words. The parents must all be heartbroken.”

Another said, “Officials are spending tens of millions of yuan on government cars and use minivans as school buses for little children.”

Frequent school bus accidents in China have become a public concern. State media People’s Daily reported a list of them happening in the last two years.

Last July, in Dalian City, a small cargo truck taking 17 preschoolers to a kindergarten collided with a car. Many children were injured. The cargo truck was a private vehicle and the driver didn’t have a school bus permit.

Another case of an overloaded school bus was reported in Jiangsu Province on Feb. 26, 2010. Twenty-six children were crammed into a seven-seat minivan, and a 4-year-old child died of suffocation as a result.

Read the original Chinese article