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China suspect sabotage in bus blaze

Chinese authorities said Sunday that sabotage can not be ruled out in a fierce blaze which gutted a bus in southwest China that left 25 people dead and 76 injured.

world Updated: Jun 07, 2009 12:09 IST

Chinese authorities said Sunday that sabotage can not be ruled out in a fierce blaze which gutted a bus in southwest China that left 25 people dead and 76 injured.

The packed commuter bus burst into flames and was destroyed within minutes early Friday in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

Hu Qinghan, director of the Chengdu Communications Commission, said that self-combustion or a mechanical glitch cannot be concluded as the cause of the blaze.

"Initial investigations at the scene have concluded the theory (of sabotage)," China Daily quoted Hu as saying.

He said that bus's diesel tanks were intact and flammable liquid that caused the fire was not from the fuel tanks.

"The blaze was not fueled by diesel in the oil tank," he said.

"The bus received a routine maintenance on May 25. It was filled with 137 litres of diesel on June 4 and investigators found the tank still contained 107 liters of the fuel after running 160 km in a day," he added.

He said that authorities are further investigating the incident.

The victims got trapped inside the bus as they could not open the doors and windows of the air-conditioned bus.

The deadly accident has prompted a number of Chinese cities to launch bus safety overhauls and enhanced public transportation management and supervision.