Beijing, Jun 8: A deadly bus fire that killed 47 people and injured 34 others in China's southeastern city of Xiamen was not an accident but a criminal act and the suspect has been identified, Chinese officials said today.
An initial investigation showed the bus fire was suspected to be a “serious criminal case”, they said.
The investigation by experts and police showed the tyres and oil tank of the bus remained intact while most of its other parts were gutted.
The combustion improver was gasoline while the bus was equipped with diesel engine rising suspicion that it was not an accident, state-run CCTV reported. The suspect has been identified, it said, without disclosing the details.
A Bus Rapid Transit (BRTS) bus caught fire in the city of Xiamen on elevated highway, in one of the deadliest road accidents in the country recently.
The fire broke out when the bus was 500 meters away from the Jinshan bus stop, an official said. Several survivors said they smelt gasoline before they noticed the fire.
A government official said the case was initially identified as a “serious criminal case” and further investigation is under way.
Arson attacks by disgruntled people took place in the past as a bus in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province, was set ablaze by an unemployed man with gasoline in 2009. Twenty eight people were killed and more than 70 others injured in that incident.
As the incident sent shock waves a working team led by State Councillor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun arrived in Xiamen late last night to oversee the relief work.
Guo asked the medical officers to race against time to rescue the injured and ensure them best and timely treatment.
The Public Security Ministry has urged local police departments to take rapid and effective measures to carry out a safety overhaul and ensure overall social stability.
The ministry also demanded police to ensure the ongoing national college entrance exams, which started on Friday and will end tomorrow with more than nine million examinees.
The BRT bus line in Xiamen resumed operation today, with a strict safety check on passengers' luggage by bus station staff, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.