Thirty-five passengers confirmed dead in a tour bus fire in China

At least 35 tourists have died after their bus crashed into the side of a road and burst into flames in China, reports Daily Mail.

A total of 55 people, including two children, were on board the bus, which crashed in Hunan province on Sunday. Several people are said to be in critical condition and have been hospitalised.

The driver of the bus has been detailed by the police according to local media though it's not clear whether he has been charged with anything.

Video footage shot at the scene showed the bus engulfed in flames with heavy smoke billowing from the vehicle. People could be heard screaming as others ran from the bus. Some, visibly unable to walk, were helped away from the scene of the crash by uniformed officers. After the fire was put out, only the shell of the bus was left. 

The latest report from China's state news agency Xinhua said that 11 people were hospitalised following the crash at 10.20am local time.  Of these, four are said to be seriously injured.

Local officials believe that an oil leak caused by the bus crashing into a roadside guard rail may have caused the fire, Xinhua said, but the cause of the crash remains unclear. 

Traffic accidents are common in China, with more than 250,000 people dying each year on the country's roads, according to the World Health Organization. Long-distance buses are popular in China as a cheap way of travelling between cities and competition between bus firms can be fierce. China has seen repeated bus fires in recent years which have caused multiple fatalities.

At least 38 people were killed in 2014 when a van carrying inflammable liquid hit a bus on a highway in Hunan province, state media reported.

In 2010 a shuttle bus carrying steel factory workers in eastern China burst into flames, killing 24 passengers.

Several such incidents were deliberate arson attacks, according to officials.

An arsonist who injured more than 30 people by setting fire to a bus in the Chinese city of Hangzhou was executed last year, authorities said.

In 2013 a suicidal man started a fire on a vehicle in Xiamen in the eastern province of Fujian that killed 47 people, including himself.

There were no indications that the fire on Sunday was deliberate. Xinhua said rescuers were searching the charred frame of the bus.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. 

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