German tour bus catches fire in Beijing–6 dead, 14 injured

A tour bus enveloped in flames after rear-ending a container truck on an expressway near Beijing on Oct 1, 2012. [Photo from weibo.com/lifecuc]

Tragic news out of Beijing today. A bus carrying a German tour group was engulfed in flames after rear-ending a truck on a highway near Beijing. Current reports indicate that six people have died, and a further 14 are injured.

While the identities of the victims have not yet been released, five of the dead are reportedly Germans, and one Chinese.

The joint Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday/Golden Week is seeing record numbers of travelers on the country’s highways, due in part to a new policy that makes the roads toll-free for standard passenger cars and vans.

If you’re travelling during the holidays, please be extra cautious. Public and tourist transportation is notorious for not following safety codes. Be sure to check for emergency window breakers and other safety equipment on any vehicles you are travelling on. Likewise, if you are travelling by car, make the extra effort to buckle up. Living in China can make us a bit lax with following seatbelt rules, but they’re there for a reason.