A long-distance passenger bus crashed into the wall of an expressway tunnel in China's northwest, killing at least 36 people and injuring 13 others, official media reported Friday. The front end of the red bus was left mangled after it ploughed into the wall at the entrance to the tunnel on a four-lane highway, according to photos published by state media. The crash occurred in Shaanxi province shortly before midnight Thursday as the bus, with a legal carrying capacity of 51 people, was on its way to Luoyang, a city in central China, from Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan.
The Xinhua News Agency and other media outlets said the bus was the only vehicle damaged, although it wasn't clear if any other vehicles were involved in causing the crash. Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun ordered a swift investigation into the accident, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. Highway accidents are common in China because of high speeds, aggressive driving, and a failure to leave adequate braking distance, the AP reports. The World Health Organization estimates that traffic accidents kill around 260,000 people in mainland China each year—a rate of 18.8 in every 100,000 people.