At least forty-one people were killed and six others injured when an overloaded bus caught fire on a highway in central China, state media reported Friday.

The bus was traveling on the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway when it reportedly caught fire in Xinyang City, while on its way from the city of Weihai in eastern Shandong Province to central Hunan's provincial capital Changsha.

A total of 47 people were on board when the 35-seat bus caught fire at 04.00 a.m. on the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway.

The casualties, including the bus driver were taken to a hospital in Zhumadian City, the Daily reported and one person was reportedly in intensive care.

Officials are investigating the cause of the blaze, Zhang Guohui, head of Henan Provincial Work Safety Administration.