China bus hijack fire killed
A fire on a hijacked bus in China killed eight people and injured five Thursday, reports said. In this photo, commuters drive past the burnt out wreckage of a bus as it is being taken away after a crash with a truck on a highway near Xiangtan in China's Hunan province, Sept. 25, 2015. Getty Images/AFP

A bus in northwest China’s Shaanxi province caught fire, killing eight people and injuring five, according to a report by Global Times, a local newspaper, which added that local police confirmed the fire was due to a hijacking and arson.

The bus was traveling on the Fuzhou-Yinchuan Highway and caught fire when it was about to enter a tunnel in Xi'an city, according to state-run China Radio International. Due to the incident, several highway entrances were reportedly shut, affecting an area of nearly 25 miles. Witnesses also said the bus was burnt down to its metal frame.

After an initial investigation, local police officials said the case was being probed further.

In September last year, a multiple-vehicle accident in China’s northern province of Hunan killed at least 21 people and injured 11 after a bus caught fire after colliding with a truck. Two other vehicles were also involved in that crash.

A report by a World Health Organization last May said that at least 200,000 people die in road accidents annually in China, an estimate that was four times higher than the one given by the Chinese government.