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China says deadly bus fire was deliberately set

world Updated: Jul 03, 2009 16:24 IST

AP
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A Chinese bus fire that killed 27 people and injured dozens last month was deliberately set by a man who committed suicide, state media said on Friday.

The air-conditioned bus caught fire during the morning rush hour in the southwestern city of Chengdu and was destroyed within minutes. Besides those killed, more than 70 people were injured, some seriously.

Police say a 62-year-old unemployed man set the fire after carrying a bucket of gasoline onto the bus, the state-run China Daily reported.

The newspaper said the man, Zhang Yunliang, was burned to death at the rear of the bus. The official Xinhua News Agency said Zhang intended to kill himself.

“Judging from the way the body lied on the floor and the direction it faced, Zhang did not intend to escape after setting the fire,” it said.

The China Daily said Zhang had been threatening to commit suicide because he was dependent on his daughter for financial support. It did not say why he wanted to do it in a public place.

Xinhua reported at the time of the June 5 fire that the death toll was worsened by overcrowding aboard the bus and the lack of functioning safety exits. Most of the bus windows were sealed and had to be broken by people outside.