36 Dead After China Bus Plows Into Methanol Tanker
Accident occurred in Shaanxi province
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2012 6:22 AM CDT
A bus in Xinyang, central China's Henan province, that burst into flames and killed 41 people on July 22, 2011. Another bus accident this morning in Shaanxi province killed 36.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Bo)

(Newser) – A double-decker sleeper bus rammed into a tanker loaded with highly-flammable methanol on a northern Chinese highway early today, causing both vehicles to burst into flames and killing 36 people, state media said. The official Xinhua News Agency said 39 people were on the long distance sleeper bus when it crashed and only three survived. The survivors were hospitalized, it said, but didn't say what condition they were in.

The tanker had just returned to the highway after an early morning rest stop when it was apparently rear-ended by the bus at around 2:40am close to the city of Yan'an in Shaanxi province, the official China News website said. The bus had left Hohhot in Inner Mongolia at 5pm yesterday and was headed south to Xi'an city, it said. Road safety is a serious problem in China. According to Xinhua, poorly maintained roads and bad driving habits result in about 70,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries a year.