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At least 36 people have died after a packed coach smashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel in northern China.

The vehicle’s 13 other passengers were rushed to hospital after being injured in the collision, which happened in Shaanxi province on Thursday night.

Midway through its long-distance journey from Chengdu to the central city of Luoyang, the coach crashed in Qinling tunnel.

The 49 passengers on board the 51-person capacity vehicle included two children.

Deadly road accidents are common in China – with high speeds, aggressive driving and a failure to leave adequate braking distance also to blame.

At least 36 people have died after a coach crashed into Qinling tunnel, northern China

Image: Emergency services attended the scene at Qinling tunnel

Approximately 260,000 people are killed on the country’s mainland each year at a rate of 18.8 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation.

Other figures showed traffic law violations caused almost 90% of accidents where people died or were injured in 2015.

The government has vowed to clamp down on dangerous driving but the country’s rapid growth in car ownership has hampered efforts to curb the number of accidents, especially in rural areas.

State media says a swift investigation has been ordered into the crash.

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