DHARAMSHALA, December 12: Twelve people have been confirmed dead and five others missing after a bus fell into a river in Chamdo, Tibet according to a report published by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
News about the accident, which reportedly happened as early as Tuesday, December 6 was published only last Saturday, December 10.
According to the report, the ill-fated passenger bus was carrying 19 people including the driver when it fell into the Zachu River at around 4:30 p.m. local time Tuesday.
The report cited regional government officials as saying that 12 bodies had been recovered by Friday night while two people, including the bus driver sustained slight injuries. Rescuers are reportedly searching for the five missing passengers along the river.
Without giving any further information, the report said that six of the dead were Chamdo natives and the rest were from the neighbouring Tibetan regions.
The vehicle has been pulled out of the river while the local police are reportedly investigating the cause of the accident.
Chinese official statistics for the year 2010 show that there were 1,317 road accidents in western and central Tibet alone, killing 621 and injuring 1,161.
Severe road accidents are common in Tibet due to bad road conditions and lax safety and security measures. Earlier this year 16 people were killed in a highway accident while seven died when their truck rolled into a deep gorge.