China: Driver intentionally crashes bus after finding his house was demolished, 21 dead

A Chinese driver deliberately crashed a bus full of passengers into a reservoir in southwestern China, hours after discovering his house had been demolished.

21 people died, 15 were injured when the bus swerved across five lanes, smashed through a guard rail and partially sank on 7th July.

There were 12 students on the bus at the time of the crash, five of whom died, according to state media. Some of the students were about to sit their college entrance exams, known as the gaokao.

The driver, surnamed Zhang, was among those killed.

“Zhang was unsatisfied with his life and with the demolition of his rented public house. In order to get noticed, he committed an extreme criminal act,” the Anshun police statement said.

According to police, Zhang normally began his shift at noon, but on July 7 he asked another driver if he could start earlier.

Just after 9 a.m., he bought a bottle of baijiu, a strong Chinese alcohol, before pouring it into a plastic beverage container.

Hours later, just before the crash, Zhang sent his girlfriend a voice message on popular messaging app WeChat, expressing “world-weary” feelings, according to the police.

Shortly before he drove the bus into the reservoir, Zhang was seen drinking from a plastic beverage bottle in the driver’s seat. At least 200ml of baijiu was found by police near the crash site.

Zhang had been given the rental property when he worked at a diesel engine factory in Anshun’s Xixiu district. According to police, he hadn’t lived there for some time.

Zhang had known the house was marked for demolition as part of a “shantytown reconstruction project”. He had applied for compensation and new housing, but while he was offered $10,360 for losing the house, he didn’t claim it and was turned down for new accommodation.

On the day of the crash, Zhang found out that the house had been demolished, leaving him homeless.