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Beijing (AFP) Dec 26, 2012
A city in east China suspended 12 officials Wednesday, including a vice mayor, policemen and education administrators, after 11 children were killed in a road wreck involving an overloaded vehicle.
The Monday accident occurred in Guixi city, Jiangxi province when the overloaded mini-van plunged into a pond as it was transporting the four to six-year-old children to kindergarten.
Kindergarten principal Zhou Chune, who was driving the van, and four other children survived the accident. Zhou has been taken into police custody, the Guixi city government said on its website.
The city further announced that 12 officials, including a vice mayor, several traffic police officials and numerous Guixi school administrators had been suspended from work pending an investigation into the accident.
On Monday, locals complained that the police response to the wreck was too slow and could have contributed to the high death toll.
China's roads are highly dangerous, with traffic laws and safety widely flouted and fatal accidents involving overloaded vehicles routine.
Nationwide concern over overcrowded school buses became a focus in December last year when 15 primary school children died after the bus they were travelling in rolled into a river in east China's Jiangsu province.
That accident came after 19 children died when their school bus collided head on with a truck in Gansu province weeks earlier.
Some 64 children had been crammed into the nine-seater bus with the tragedy prompting authorities to order checks on school transport across the country.
Last year, more than 62,000 people died in traffic accidents in China, state media said, citing police figures.
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