China bus, truck collision kills 24

BEIJING: Twenty-four people were killed and two injured Thursday when a bus and truck collided in China, local authorities said, in an incident highlighting the treacherous conditions on the nation’s roads.

The accident happened Thursday morning on a highway in the eastern province of Anhui, the provincial press office said in a post on its official weibo, or micro blog.

Photos of the accident in Xiao county showed half of the bus was completely destroyed and the truck had landed in a nearby ditch, its front end pulverised after the head-on collision. Bodies could be seen scattered on the road.

Calls to the Xiao and Anhui government departments went unanswered. China’s roads are notoriously dangerous, with traffic laws and safety widely flouted. Bus operators often seek to cram as many people as they can onto their vehicles to maximise profits and drivers hurtle down highways.

Around 70,000 people die and 300,000 are injured in road accidents every year in China, state media have said citing police figures — the equivalent of more than 190 dead and 800 injured every day.

A recent World Health Organisation study said the true number of dead is likely around twice as high.