Hours after a deadly suspected arson attack in Yinchuan city in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, police have arrested the major suspect who they believe set fire to a bus, according to local media’s latest reports.
It has been reported that the 34-year-old suspect, Ma Yongping, was apprehended while trying to flee from police by jumping off a building.
The fire was reported at around 7:08 a.m. when a Route 301 bus passed by a furniture store. The subsequent blaze has taken the lives of 17 people so far, and wounded 32.
“Suddenly people started screaming ‘Fire! Bus on Fire!’…When I turned around, the flames were racing towards me very quickly,” recalled 26-year-old Hu Yuexiang, a passenger who was sitting at the front of the bus at the time. “Before I knew it my shoes were on fire.”
“I thought the bus was about to explode, and I was going to die. Then the door opened and we all rushed out,” Hu recounted.
The bus reportedly had more than 40 passengers onboard when it caught fire. Another passenger, Wang Yongfeng, who suffered minor burns and is recovering in a local hospital, said that when he boarded the bus, all the seats were taken, and many people were standing. A number of pictures on microblog Sina Weibo taken by passersby show the entire bus engulfed in flames.
All the wounded, including eight with severe injuries, are now being treated at Ningxia Medical University General Hospital, according to the county government.
The bus company began a safety check of all its vehicles following the incident, and all public buses are now operating normally in Yinchuan.