38 Die in China Highway Pile-Up and Blaze
File photo

At least 38 people have died in a highway crash in central China.

The accident happened at 3am local time on the Shanghai-Kunming Expressway in Hunan Province. At least five people were injured, state news agency Xinhua said.

The report said a freight van laden with flammable liquid crashed into a passenger bus that can seat as many as 53 people.

The vehicles caught fire in the impact, charring the passengers in the bus to death.

The passenger liner was travelling between the eastern coastal province of Fujian and Guizhou in the southwest of the country.

Five vehicles were gutted in the fire that followed the pile-up. The blaze was put out several hours later, provincial government sources said. The injured have been taken to hospital and officials from the ministries of public security and transport are rushing to the scene of the accident.

China, where the road network and the number of drivers keep expanding, witnesses at least 200 accident deaths every day, according to official data.