Shanghai, China (AHN) - At least 24 people perished and 19 were left injured when a company-operated bus transporting employees burst into flames.
The shuttle bus operated by Xuefeng steel plant was carrying 45 employees late Sunday in Wuxi city near Shanghai when the fire broke out. Officials said the incident occurred as the bus carrying night shift workers was passing through a tunnel.
Three of the injured workers were listed in critical condition at a nearby hospital and suffered burns across 50 percent of their bodies.
"According to our experience, the three most seriously injured still have a high chance of survival," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Zhengyu, deputy president of the Wuxi Number 3 People's Hospital, as saying. Investigators are still trying to ascertain the cause of the accident.
Last year in Chengdu province 27 people died when a worker ignited a can of gasoline on a bus that had sealed windows and doors. Workers in China have begun carrying hammers when riding on public transportation should a similar incident occur.
The Xuefeng steel plant is run by the Jiangsu Shagang Group, China's largest private steel company.