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17 Killed in Guizhou Bus Crash
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Seventeen people were killed and 25 others were injured when a bus came off the road in southwest China's Guizhou Province yesterday, sources with the provincial work safety watchdog said.

The accident happened at about 5:30 AM when the bus ploughed through guardrails on the Guiyang-Bijie Highway in Qianxi County, Guizhou, and plunged about 20 m down a hillside, crashing through several trees and landing in a corn field.

Three children were among the dead, while the injured are being treated in local hospitals.

Li Hong, deputy director of the provincial work safety bureau, said: "The death toll could yet rise, as some of those injured are in serious condition."

He said the accident might have been caused by driver fatigue, as it occurred in the early morning, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.

The bus, which is registered to the neighboring Yunnan Province, was carrying 41 passengers and therefore not overloaded, Li said.

The accident occurred on the last day of the seven-day May Day holiday, which started last Tuesday.

Figures released by the State Council Work Safety Committee on Sunday showed that 75 people died in 33 accidents in the first four days of the month.

Sixteen were killed in an accident in Yunnan on Friday when a runaway truck ploughed into a crowd of people waiting for a bus.

An explosion at a coal mine in northern China's Shanxi Province the following day killed 28, and two miners are still missing.

Five people were also killed and two injured in Guizhou on Sunday when a minivan veered off a road in Panxian County.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2007)

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