WASHINGTON - Chinese authorities say at least 36 people have been killed and 13 others injured in a bus crash Friday in the central Chinese province of Shaanxi.
The injured were sent to the hospital, and rescue efforts and the investigation into the accident were ongoing.
The bus left Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, Thursday night and was headed for Luoyang city in Henan Province. Shortly before midnight, police said the long-distance bus hit a wall in the Qinling tunnel, part of the Xi’an-Hanzhong Expressway.
Photos published by the official Xinhua news agency showed the front of the red bus pushed in by the force of the crash. It was not clear if the crash occurred inside or just outside the tunnel. Xinhua did not indicate whether any other vehicles were involved.
Highway accidents are common in China because of high speeds and aggressive drivers.
Last month, 11 people were killed and nine others injured when a bus carrying 19 people collided with a truck on a national highway in northern Hebei province.
Ten people were killed and 38 injured in March when a bus collided with a cement truck in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
The World Health Organization estimates that traffic accidents kill about 260,000 people in mainland China each year, or 18.8 deaths for every 100,000 people.
The toll from Thursday’s road accident was nearly twice as high as the casualties reported so far, 20 dead, from a powerful earthquake that rocked western China’s Sichuan province two days earlier.