Overloading was the reason for a bus plunge accident early on Friday in central Henan Province, which killed 15 and injured 20 others, local police said on Saturday.
The accident occurred at 1:00 p.m. when a bus, with 35 people aboard, 18 more than permitted, veered off a mountain road into a 260-meter deep ravine in Mianchi County, according to the county public security bureau.
A total of 15 people were killed, with seven dead at the site. A further eight people died in hospital.
Among the 20 injured, six, including an 8-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries and the rest were in stable condition.
Police were waiting at the bedside of driver Liu Shuxin, also owner of the bus, who was receiving treatment in hospital, to question him.
An investigation group was established on Saturday for the detailed cause of the accident.