China bus fire kills 47, blamed on suicidal man

BEIJING Sat Jun 8, 2013 6:36am EDT

People are held back from the site of a bus fire in Xiamen, Fujian province June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

People are held back from the site of a bus fire in Xiamen, Fujian province June 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A suicidal man started a fire on a bus in China that killed 47 people, state media said on Saturday, a disaster that came just days after 120 people died in a fire at a poultry plant.

The bus caught fire during the rush hour on Friday as it was on elevated tracks in the coastal city of Xiamen, the Ministry of Public Security said, labeling it a "serious criminal case".

State television said Xiamen resident Chen Shuizong started the fire. A suicide note was found at his home and he was among those killed, it said.

"Chen Shuizong felt his life was not as he wished it and he was profoundly pessimistic, so he gave vent to his anger by setting the fire," the television added in a brief report.

On Monday, a fire at a poultry slaughterhouse in northeastern China killed 120 people. Authorities said safety management at the plant was a "total mess" and have detained two executives.

President Xi Jinping, visiting California for a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama, demanded his government pay closer attention to preventing fires, the Xinhua news agency said.

"Life is precious, and lives cannot be sacrificed in the pursuit of development," it cited him as saying. "Lessons must be learned from this spilling of blood and bitter experience."

Buses have been targeted before in China.

In 2009 a passenger lit petrol on a bus in Chengdu, killing 27 people and injuring dozens. Also that year, 24 people died in a shuttle bus fire in Wuxi, near Shanghai, started by a disgruntled steel worker.

In 2005 a 42-year-old farmer with terminal lung cancer set off a crude bomb on a bus in a suicide attack that wounded 31.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (2)
Verpoly wrote:
Too early to say it is a sabotage. Xiamen local media claimed the fuel tank was ignited by a ruptured tire while going up slope overloaded. The tragic accident happened during off-work peak hour.

Jun 07, 2013 10:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Yamayoko wrote:
When China classified a case “criminal”, they merely laid the ground for someone eventually accountable for poor leadership in an incident with mass deaths. The case itself may not carry criminal elements as we normally comprehend. And that’s China.

Jun 07, 2013 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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