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6 dead after van overloaded with students plunges into SW China valley

(Xinhua)

15:02, December 25, 2011

KUNMING, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- An overloaded van taking 12 students home plunged into a 60-meter deep valley in rural southwest China on Saturday, killing six people and injuring eight others, local officials reported.

The eight-seater, loaded with 14 people, rolled into the valley from a mountainous road in the county of Guangnan, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao prefecture of Yunnan province at about 9 a.m., prefecture officials said. The fatality includes the driver, four students, and an elderly man.

Local officials said the van was not a school bus but students in the area usually took the van to commute from home to the school. Many students in the rural boarding school returned home on Saturday mornings.

The eight injured, all students, were sent to the prefecture hospital of Wenshan located more than 3 hours drive from the county for treatment. Their conditions are not immediately known.

Police have launched an investigation into the accident.

It is the second traffic accident involving student fatalities in Yunnan this week, amid a string of fatal school bus accidents across the country that raised national concern over school transport safety, especially in the rural areas.

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