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47 killed in China road accidents: officials

Two horrific collisions in China raise road safety concerns -- and prompt protest.

China sleeper bus crash yanan 20120826Enlarge
Police and rescuers remove the bodies from a burnt out double-decker sleeper bus after a collision with a tanker near Yan'an in northern China's Shaanxi province on August 26, 2012. At least 36 people died in the fiery collision between a methanol tanker and a double-decker sleeper bus in China's worst traffic accident in more than a year (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Forty-seven people were killed in two separate road collisions in China today, The Wall Street Journal cited state media as saying, with the official Xinhua news agency calling it the "bloodiest day in years."

The first crash, which took place around two a.m. today, killed 36 people when a sleeper bus hit with a tanker carrying methane in Yan'an, a city in China's northern Shaanxi province. 

Most passengers on the double-decker bus were asleep at the time of the collision, and only three people survived the accident, reported the official Xinhua news agency. The report did not provide details as to the seriousness of their injuries.

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The second accident took place when a van crashed into a large truck on an expressway in the country's southwestern Sichuan province this afternoon, killing 11 of the 12 people on board.

The van rear-ended the truck after it pulled to the side of the road for repairs, Xinhua cited local workers as saying. 

The deadly incidents come days after a multi-billion dollar bridge collapsed in the northern city of Harbin, killing three people. 

China's road conditions are often poor, with traffic accidents among the top causes of death in the nation, according to WSJ.

Such events often lead to protests from Chinese citizens. WSJ cited complaints surfacing on social media after the accidents today, with one user of the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service criticizing the country's "backward highway management mechanism and system" and lack of basic safety checks, asking, "Why can't we learn such simple stuff?"

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120826/47-killed-china-road-accidents-officials