Truck explodes near Chinese school, at least two dead

AP, BEIJING

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - Page 6

A three-wheeled truck caught fire and exploded yesterday outside a school in southern China, killing at least two people and injuring 17, including 10 students, state media reported.

Initial reports from the scene in the resort city of Guilin described the blast as an accident, although police declined to confirm that, saying only that an investigation was ongoing.

One of the hospitalized students was in critical condition, state media reported.

The explosion struck at about 7am as children were arriving at Balijie Primary School, which is near a four-lane road in Lingchuan County. The other seven injured were adults who had been dropping children off.

Xinhua news agency and state broadcaster CCTV cited eyewitnesses as saying a motorized flatbed tricycle caught fire as it was passing the school and then exploded, setting other vehicles on fire and blowing out the windows in nearby cars and buildings. Such tricycles are frequently used to transport goods in smaller Chinese cities.

Footage from the scene showed badly burned victims sitting dazed in the street as flames burned on motorcycles around them. Debris, including half a dozen motor scooters and electric bicycles, was spread across the road and investigators collected evidence.

CCTV said the Guilin City Government has ordered a security crackdown focusing on storage and handling of explosive materials. A police officer in the area said an investigation was ongoing to determine the cause of the blast.