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Crash kills 54 Buddhist pilgrims in China


China - A truck loaded with Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims overturned on a mountain road in western China, killing at least 54 people and injuring 41, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.

The accident happened around noon yesterday as the truck was travelling through the Qinghai region while making its way back from Tibet’s capital Lhasa, Xinhua said.

The injured were sent to hospital where 29 of them were in serious condition, the report said.

Most of the passengers were from Ganzi and Aba, ethnic Tibetan regions of the south-western province of Sichuan, Xinhua said. It said they had been on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, the traditional home of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s highest figure.

Road accidents killed about 100,000 people in China last year, most of them blamed on inexperienced drivers, disregard for safety, and unsafe or overloaded vehicles.

People in rural areas are routinely transported in commercial vehicles such as tractors and trucks that are hard to steer and prone to overturning.

Alarmed at the rising death toll, the Public Security Ministry ordered provincial law enforcement officials last month to improve road safety. [SCOTSMAN]



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