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Overloaded van crashes in Yunnan, 5 students die

By Zou Le (Global Times)

16:16, December 26, 2011

Five junior high school students and two adults riding in an overloaded van were killed after the vehicle plunged off a mountain road in Yunnan Province over the weekend.

The eight-seater van was crammed with 14 people when it rolled into a 77-meter-deep valley Saturday, injuring another seven students, a press official with Guangnan county, told the Global Times Sunday.

Yunnan has seen two road accidents involving students in a week. On Wednesday, two rural primary school students died and another 20 were injured after their horse-drawn wagon collided with a truck in a rural area of Qiubei county.

"The dangerous road condition and a driving error caused the accident," He said.

The van was running on a simply constructed narrow and zigzagging road when it fell down the valley, according to the Chuncheng Evening News.

The press official said that the driver, who was killed in the accident, bought the van for private use but randomly picked up some students and an elderly man on his way to Bajiadi village. Some of those injured are being treated at a nearby hospital with one student still in critical condition.

"I remember taking a minivan to go home but I have a complete blank when the accident happened," a 15-year-old survivor was reported as saying.

Liu Yandong, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said Saturday that it would cost 460 billion yuan ($72.7 billion) to provide enough school buses for all of the nation's 150 million students.

China has seen a string of school bus accidents in the past year, with many of them occurring in rural areas where substandard vehicles are often used to transport students, often cramming too many in to save money.

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