|Photo taken by mobile phone on June 7, 2013 shows the debris of a bus on an elevated track in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province. (Xinhua)
XIAMEN, June 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 42 people died and 33 others were injured after a bus burst into flames on an elevated road in southeast China's Fujian Province on Friday evening, the local government said.
A BRT (bus rapid transit) bus caught fire near the Jinshan bus stop in the city of Xiamen at about 6:20 p.m., said an official from the municipal government.
A Xinhua reporter at the scene saw the charred frame of the bus perched on the road about ten meters above the ground. Some witnesses said they heard explosions about ten minutes after the fire broke out.
The reporter said the fire occurred during the evening rush hour, when the city's BRT buses are usually packed with commuters.
A slightly injured passenger surnamed Yang said she was using her mobile phone when she smelled gasoline and saw another passenger smashing the window in an attempt to escape.
The fire spread quickly, she recalled.
Pictures allegedly taken by witnesses and posted online showed heavy smoke as the fire engulfed the bus, as well as survivors with burns on their arms and legs.
China's social media, including Twitter-like Weibo, were buzzed with laments and posts looking for relatives and friends who were suspected of being on the bus when the fire occurred.
The fire was put out at 6:45 p.m.. The cause is under investigation.
Xiamen's BRT system became operational in 2008 as the coastal city sought to ease traffic congestion, an urban problem that has plagued many Chinese cities.
BRT buses run in separate lanes usually on elevated roads. It is now an important means of transportation for Xiamen residents.
President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have given instructions regarding the fire. The State Council, China's cabinet, sent a work team led by State Councilor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun to Xiamen on Friday evening to oversee the investigation of the fire.
President Xi, who is currently on a trip to America, has warned that China can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives, after a string of deadly accidents rocked the nation.
"Human's life is most precious and we can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives. This is a red line that cannot be overstepped," Xi said in an instruction on work safety issued on Thursday.
"Major accidents have occurred one after another and incurred heavy casualties and property losses. Great attention must be aroused," Xi ordered, according to a statement released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China late Friday evening.
He urged governments at various levels to learn "the lesson paid for with blood" and conduct a thorough overhaul targeting workplace safety to eliminate potential hazards.
The bus fire followed a series of fatal accidents in China over the past month. On June 3, a fire killed 120 and injured 77 others in a poultry plant in northeastern province of Jilin.
On June 2, an oil tank explosion at a PetroChina outlet in the port city of Dalian in northeast Liaoning Province left two people dead and another two missing. On the same day, a mine explosion killed ten people and injured 15 others in the city of Shaoyang in central Hunan Province.
A total of 33 people died in a blast at an explosives factory in east China's Shandong Province on May 20, while a coal mine explosion killed another 28 workers in southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 11.
Chinese leaders give instructions on handling deadly bus fire
BEIJING, June 7 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has given important instructions regarding the handling of a deadly bus fire that killed at least 42 people in east China's Fujian Province Friday evening.
A BRT (bus rapid transit) bus caught fire in the city of Xiamen at about 6:30 p.m., which also injured at least 33 people.Full story
Never pursue development at cost of lives, Xi warns
BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has warned that China can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives, after a string of deadly accidents rocked the nation over the past week.
"Human's life is most precious and we can never pursue development at the cost of people's lives. This is a red line that cannot be overstepped," Xi, who is on a trip to America, issued an instruction on work safety on Thursday.Full story