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Suspect in fatal China bus fire identified


13:02, June 08, 2013

A bus bursts into flames on an elevated track near the Jinshan bus stop in the city of Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, June 7, 2013. An initial investigation showed the fatal bus fire that has claimed 47 lives and hospitalized 34 on Friday was suspected to be a "serious criminal case". (Xinhua)

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XIAMEN, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A suspect has been identified in the case of Friday's fatal bus fire in the eastern Chinese city of Xiamen, local police said Saturday via their official microblog.

Investigation into the case has achieved breakthroughs, and detailed information will be disclosed soon, said "Xiamen Police Online," the official microblog of the Xiamen Municipal Public Security Bureau, on its Twitter-like Sina Weibo account.

The fire occurred at about 6:20 p.m. on Friday on a BRT (bus rapid transit) bus. The incident has claimed 47 lives and hospitalized 34 others.

A list of those injured in the blaze has been released while the identities of the victims are still being verified, said a spokesman with the Xiamen Municipal government.

Ninety people were on board the BRT bus, which had a designed capacity of 95, when the fire occurred.

There were 15 students on board and seven of them are receiving medical treatment in hospital. Eight students remain missing, according to the Xiamen Municipal Education Bureau.

Initial investigation has suggested the bus fire is a suspected "serious criminal case," with doubt cast on technical failure being the cause.

The tires and oil tank of the bus were not damaged before the fire. The combustion improver was gasoline while the vehicle was equipped with a diesel engine.

Further investigation is under way.

The BRT bus line in Xiamen resumed operation on Saturday morning. There will be strict safety checks on passengers' luggage by bus station staff.

Xiamen's BRT system, operational since August 2008, is an important means of transportation for Xiamen residents, as more than 265,000 people travel daily on the network.

The fire occurred during the evening rush hour, when the city's BRT buses are usually packed with commuters.

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