A 51-year-old man who died at the scene is the suspected arsonist in a bus attack that killed one and injured between 19 and 24 people in Yibin, Sichuan. The attack took place at around 5:00 pm yesterday evening, after a 12-year-old girl reportedly “smelled gasoline” aboard the crowded bus.
News is coming in from all of the major outlets, but no one has yet tracked down a motive or context for the attack, and it is still unknown whether this was an incident of pure arson or if explosives were used. China Daily reports:
Around 50 passengers were on the bus and most of them escaped through the front door […]
The preliminary result showed the blast was the result of arson, and a suspect has been identified, officials said.
The New York Times has also run a piece on the attack:
At least one window of the bus appeared to be missing, but others were intact; the exterior of the vehicle did not appear charred or otherwise damaged, while the interior was too dark to be seen clearly in the photos. The Yibin municipal press office said in a statement that a fire had occurred aboard a local bus at 4:50 on Monday afternoon, and that traffic officers, firefighters, medical staff members and other personnel had responded.
The statement did not mention whether an explosion might have started the fire, nor did it speculate on whether the episode might have been an accident or might have reflected an individual’s grievance or been politically motivated.
It is not yet clear whether or not this incident fits into the narrative of stabbings, bombings, and attacks that has formed in China over the past year. More information about the perpetrator and the circumstances of the attack are hopefully forthcoming, and we will post updates as the story develops.
[Images via News.Huaxi100]