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2020-07-13 10:13:48

A man in southwestern China’s Guizhou province who plunged the bus he was driving into a local reservoir, killing 20 passengers and himself, did so because he was “discontent with life,” local police said Sunday.

“(This was) to leave an impression, and was an extreme personal crime that targeted an unspecified group of people, threatening public safety,” said police in the city of Anshun, where the incident occurred.

On July 7, rescue personnel had found 37 people after the bus fell into the Hongshan Reservoir, killing 21. While 15 others were injured, one person emerged unscathed.

On the day of the crash, the driver, surnamed Zhang, had visited a public housing unit he rented that was slated to be torn down for redevelopment, according to police. Zhang had signed an agreement with the local housing authorities over the demolition and relocation project last month but had not claimed the compensation, worth over 72,000 yuan ($10,280).

The police notice also said he had applied to rent another public housing unit but was rejected.

At around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Zhang called his girlfriend and “expressed disillusionment,” according to the police report. Less than an hour after the call, Zhang was seen speeding up while driving the bus along a bridge over the reservoir, before veering off across five lanes and crashing through the guardrail.

Investigators found ethanol in Zhang’s urine, blood, and stomach content during the autopsy, suggesting he was intoxicated. The inspection ruled out mechanical issues with the bus as a possible cause.

A day after the crash, China’s Ministry of Public Security held a video conference with local authorities nationwide to discuss emergency responses, as well as the prevention of bus accidents, though no details of that meeting have been released.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Rescue team members try to salvage the submerged bus in Anshun, Guizhou province, July 7, 2020. From @贵州消防 on Weibo)