Authorities say six people were killed Monday when a packed tourist bus crashed into the back of a container truck and burst into flames in northern China.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the accident happened around 8:30 am near Tianjin on an expressway that links that port city with the capital Beijing. The bus was engulfed in flames and black smoke and was a charred skeleton of metal by the time the fire was out, the Agency said.
In addition to the deceased, which included five tourists from Germany and a Chinese citizen, police say 14 people were injured, suffering from burns, fractures, and bruises.
The cause of the accident is being investigated, Xinhua noted, adding that the German ambassador to China, Michael Schaefer, traveled to Tianjin to visit the injured.
CNN reports that road accidents are frequent in China, and traffic on the nation's roads had been particularly heavy over the weekend as people headed home for the Mid-Autumn Festival, a week-long national holiday.
Due to the packed roadways --- officials estimate more than 85 million motorists to hit the roads and a total of 740 million trips to be undertaken --- China has waived road tolls for the holiday.
Government statistics show that poorly maintained roads and bad driving habits result in about 70,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries a year in China.