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North China expressway accident leaves 35 dead, 19 injured

(Xinhua)

13:41, October 08, 2011

TIANJIN, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- An expressway accident that occurred in north China's port city of Tianjin on Friday afternoon has left 35 dead and 19 others injured, police said.

The accident occurred around 4 p.m. when a coach rolled over after rear-ending a car on the Tianjin section of an expressway linking the city's Binhai New Area with the city of Baoding in neighboring Hebei province.

Most of the coach's passengers were students from Hebei's Tangshan College who were on their way back to school on the last day of the week-long National Day holiday, police said.

The injured have been taken to local hospitals for treatment. The driver of the coach is currently in a coma, according to the police.

The identities of the 19 injured have been confirmed and police are still trying to ascertain the identities of the deceased.

An investigatory team composed of members of the State Administration of Work Safety and the Ministry of Public Security have been dispatched to the scene to look into the accident.

Wang Qiang, an official with the city's traffic management bureau, said the coach was speeding and many of the passengers were thrown out of the vehicle when it hit the car and rolled over.

The coach, which belongs to the Tangshan Traffic and Transportation Group, has a maximum capacity of 53 people. However, 55 people were in the vehicle when the accident occurred.

Traffic on the expressway was resumed by 8 a.m. Saturday after the road was blocked off by the accident, police said.

Tianjin's crash was the most deadly of three major road accidents that occurred on the last day of the holiday. Traffic is often high on the last day, as many people are traveling after visiting their families or taking vacations.

Eleven people died when a truck crashed into a mini-van at about 6:30 a.m. on a highway in Sheqi County in central China's Henan province.

Local officials said all of the mini-van's passengers were killed instantly, and the truck driver was detained after fleeing the scene.

Low visibility caused by heavy morning fog triggered a pile-up that involved 24 cars on an expressway in east China's Anhui province, killing at least six people and injuring 19 others, police said.

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