2 dead, 32 injured in Guangzhou bus explosion
Two people died at the scene and 32 were landed in hospital with injuries after a bus explosion in Guangzhou Tuesday evening, police said.
Most of the victims suffered burn-related injuries and were being treated at three hospitals in downtown Guangzhou, a spokesman with the municipal public security bureau said.
Of the eight critical cases under intensive care, four suffered burns exceeding 80 percent of the body surface, he said. "Doctors say it might take two to four weeks for the severest cases to be out of danger."
Police received reports of the explosion at 7:46 p.m., and the flames were put out at 8:03 p.m., he said.
The cause of the accident was still under investigation, the official told Xinhua in a midnight interview.
Top officials with the Guangdong provincial government and the city government of Guangzhou ordered all-out rescue efforts and timely investigation into the cause of the explosion.
Guangzhou mayor Chen Jianhua visited the injured passengers at hospitals late Tuesday night.
A woman with arm injuries said she was waiting at the bus stop when she heard a bang and saw flames engulfing the vehicle. "I tried to flee, but the flames spread so fast that I could not run anywhere."
Mr. Ling fled the bus but was pushed badly by the panic-stricken crowd behind him. He was landed in hospital with bruises.
"I had been on the bus for a while before the explosion. It was crowded as usual, with more than 40 people," said Ling. "But I did not see or smell anything wrong beforehand."
Eight patients were landed at the No. 421 hospital of the People's Liberation Army. Xinhua reporters saw four patients receiving treatment, but all were too weak to talk.
The ill-fated bus was in service on route 301. It was fully-packed and had pulled over at Nandunhe stop on Guangzhou Avenue. Its doors were still open when the blast happened.
"I heard a bang and saw the entire bus was on fire," said a witness who gave only his family name as Ye. "I was less than 20 meters from the bus, but could feel the heatwave."
Ye said he saw panic-stricken passengers rushing out of the bus, some with burns. "But there were still people stranded on the bus."
He saw volunteers, mostly people from roadside stores, trying to put out the flames with fire extinguisher, "but of no avail".
Mr. Huang was standing just across the street when the explosion happened. "I heard an escaped passenger say the blast went off just a few seconds after he got off, and there were still more than 30 people on the bus."
Mr. Xian, a cabby who offers passengers rides on his motorbike, was about 40 meters behind the bus. "It happened at the rush hour, and crowds of people were waiting at the bus stop."
Another cabby said he saw a bespectacled man with burns on the arm sitting on the ground and weeping. "Another man sitting close to him had lost both legs."
The site of the explosion is on Guangzhou Avenue, a pivotal road linking the northern and southern parts of the city.
On July 5, a 34-year-old man was suspected of setting off fire on a bus packed with tourists in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, and 32 people were injured. （新华网）