China: At least three dead in rush-hour blast

A rush-hour explosion on a Shanghai bus killed at least three people and injured more than 20 today, state media said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the three died in the blast at about 9am (2am BST), according to firefighters at the scene.

The cause of the explosion was not yet known, it said.

Xinhua said the firefighters estimated that about 50 passengers were on the 842 bus in the Yangpu district in north-east Shanghai at the time.

More than 20 people were injured, among them seven severely-hurt passengers who were sent to hospitals, the local Liberation Daily newspaper said on its website. Witnesses said some passengers were trapped on the bus because the windows could not be opened and that at least one door was stuck shut.

“People could not get the middle door open, so only a few escaped unhurt through the front door,” said a local bystander, who just missed getting on the bus for his morning commute.

“It seemed strange that the bus burned up so fast. The steel plates on the top and bottom were quickly ruined,” said the man, who like many cautious Chinese would only give his surname, Zhou.

The Liberation Daily report showed the blackened bus, its roof partly blown open, stopped at the side of the road, surrounded by fire extinguisher foam. By late morning, the scene of the explosion had been completely cleared of debris.

Staff at the headquarters of the Dazhong Transportation offices said officials responsible for speaking to media were out at the scene and not available for comment.

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