Bus plunge, floods leave 29 dead in northern China

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, an aerial photo shows an overflowing Yellow River near the Lianbo Village in Hejin City, northern China’s Shanxi Province, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (Zhan Yan/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities said Tuesday that 14 people died after a bus plunged into a rushing river during heavy flooding that has caused 15 other fatalities in the north.

State broadcaster CCTV said another 37 people from the bus had been rescued and seven were hospitalized. The driver was in custody.

The crash occurred Monday after heavy rains caused flooding that destroyed homes and covered vast expanses of farmland in two provinces near the capital Beijing.

Official news website The Paper said the bus driver ignored warnings not to attempt to cross the bridge that was almost covered by the surging floodwaters. Video posted online showed people on top of the almost-submerged bus as water was flowing over the nearby bridge outside the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.

In Shanxi province just west of Hebei, 15 people have died in floods that have caused a direct economic loss of more than 5 billion yuan ($770 million), CCTV reported. More than 120,000 people had been evacuated in the province as thousands of houses collapsed and 190,000 hectares (470,000 acres) of crops were damaged.

Floods have also disrupted coal mining operations in the area amid a nationwide shortage of the fuel. The stoppage comes as the government is trying to address power shortages that have affected industry and even heating for homes as winter arrives.

Shanxi, normally a dry region, has also shuttered 166 tourist sites after flooding damaged a section of an ancient city wall in the historic town of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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