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(LEAD) Speeding, driver error may be blamed for bus plunge in China

All Headlines 17:28 July 03, 2015

(ATTN: ADDS details in last 5 paras)

JIAN, China, July 3 (Yonhap) -- A bus crash in northeastern China that killed 10 South Koreans and the Chinese driver might have been caused by high speed and driver error, according to officials on Friday and CCTV footage of the scene.

The vehicle carrying 26 South Korean government employees, the Chinese driver and one tour guide from China plunged off a bridge in the northeastern Chinese city of Jian on Wednesday afternoon. Ten South Koreans and the Chinese driver were killed.

A 10-second CCTV footage of the scene shows the bus turning sharp left to enter the bridge. A few seconds later, the bus crashed into the side barrier before falling off the bridge.

At that time, there was no oncoming traffic.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, but a Chinese traffic official from the city of Jian said, "In an early judgment, it may have been caused by inexperienced driving."

The exact conditions of the 17 injured were not clear, but China's state news agency Xinhua reported that one 36-year-old South Korean person "is in life-threatening condition."

Citing Wang Haifeng, vice head of The First Hospital of Jilin University, where the injured are being treated, the report said, "Of the other 16, eight have serious injuries and the others are slightly injured and will be able to leave the hospital in about a week."

The South Korean government employees were on a training trip to northeastern China.

Bereaved family members gathered at a mortuary outside Jian.

Chung Chae-gun, vice minister of South Korea's Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, offered his condolences at the mortuary.

Chinese authorities had banned South Korean journalists from taking photographs inside the mortuary for two days, but briefly allowed them to do so after a protest by the South Korean government.

Chinese security guards checked identification cards of anyone who come to the mortuary and prohibited non-family members of the dead from entering the mortuary.

"We come to pay our respects because a number of South Korean people died. So, it is quite absurd that we must be allowed by Chinese authorities to do so by one by one," said a South Korean visitor.

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