The accident, which happened before sunrise on an icy stretch of the Changde-Zhangjiajie Highway in Hunan province, completely blocked the two-lane highway for the whole morning. Fifteen vehicles, including at least three coaches, crashed into one another as the road froze over.
The China News Service said at one point more than 80 passengers were trapped in the wreckage before firefighters arrived to pull them out.
Of the total 65 injured passengers, 31 remained hospitalised, said the news service.
Highway accidents are a common occurrence in the days and weeks leading up to the Spring Festival. A total of 58 people died on China’s roads over the course of just two days last weekend, Xinhua reported January 3.