FIFTEEN primary school children have been killed when the bus they were travelling in rolled into a river, authorities in eastern China said.
The crash comes just days after China's cabinet published draft regulations aimed at improving school bus safety after the deaths of 19 children in an overcrowded, nine-seater bus sparked a nationwide outcry.
The latest accident happened in Jiangsu province's Shouxian town after dark on Monday evening, a local Communist Party committee spokesman told AFP.
"The bus rolled over into the river," said the spokesman, who refused to be named. "15 died in this accident, and I don't know how many are in critical condition," he added.
He refused to say how many children were on the bus at the time, but the official Xinhua news agency said the vehicle was carrying 29 students and had a maximum capacity of 52 people, so was not overloaded.
According to Xinhua, the bus fell into the river after trying to avoid a small vehicle, but the exact cause of the accident is still unknown.
The report quoted a local government spokesman as saying that at least eight other children were still in hospital, but he did not elaborate on their condition.
It added that another school bus carrying 59 students in the southern province of Guangdong was involved in a collision with a truck on Monday, injuring 37 - seven of whom were hospitalised.
The accidents are the latest in a series of deadly crashes involving school children that has prompted the government to order nationwide checks on school bus safety.
Chinese school buses are often crammed, especially in rural areas, due to lax rule enforcement, in a country where according to police statistics almost 70,000 people died in road accidents in 2010 - around 190 a day.