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China bus fire kills at least 42

At least 42 people were killed on Friday when a city bus caught fire during rush hour in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

China bus fireEnlarge
A bus lies at the side of a ravine in flames following a traffic accident at Nandan county section of 210 national highway on January 10, 2012 in Hechi, China. Another city bus caught fire in the Chinese city of Xiamen on June 7, 2013, killing at least 42 and injuring 33. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

At least 42 people were killed on Friday when a city bus caught fire during rush hour in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

Images of the bus after it was engulfed in flames at about 6:30 p.m. local time showed that a burnt-out shell was all that remained of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicle when the fire was put out.

Around 33 passengers were also injured in the blaze, which was reportedly the deadliest road accident in China in recent years.

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Some reports said that, at the time, there were about 100 people on the bus, which was on fire for 10 minutes before a series of explosions destroyed it. One passenger said she had smelled gas before the bus went up in flames about 500 years from the residential area Jinshan bus stop.

Photographs on Xinhua's website showed the wreckage of the bus, which had been running on elevated tracks above the city center as part of Xiamen's rapid transport system. Other photos on Chinese social media showed bewildered survivors with blood-stained clothing and burns as huge clouds of black smoke rose from the burning bus.

A local official who gave his name as Sun said there were "bodies piled up in the bus." He also said the cause o the fire was being investigated.

Xiamen's BRT system began operating in 2008, covering more than 50 miles and carrying more than 250,000 people every day, with buses often crowded during rush hour.

China has expanded its public transit systems rapidly over the past decade, but there have been concerns that it is sacrificing safety in its rush to provide more modern services to its citizens.

In 2011, a train accident near the city of Wenzhou killed 40 people. Later that same year, a collision on a new subway line in Shanghai injured hundreds of people.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/130607/china-bus-fire-kills-at-least-42