The aftermath of the rockfall accident in Shimian County. Courtesy/Chengdu Business Daily
The Chengdu Business Daily has a report of a freak rockfall accident that occurred June 30 in Shimian County in Sichuan Province, China.
At the time a bus was driving on the S217 Provincial Road between Chengdu and Wuhu, carrying 38 people. The coach was struck by a large boulder. It appears that the boulder penetrated, and became wedged through, the windscreen of the coach. The driver, Zhao Jianguo, a 44-year-old native of Chengdu, was pinned in his seat and killed. A further six people were injured.
Despite his fatal injuries the driver managed to steer the coach to a safe stop, saving the lives of the remaining passengers. The coach left a 10-metre long skid mark in the road prior to hitting the guard rail, which is being interpreted as an indication that the driver was applying the brakes prior to the impact with the crash barrier on the side of the road, despite his very serious injuries.
Rockfalls on highways in China are not unusual, and impacts between rocks and vehicles are common in mountain chains around the world. But an example in which a boulder that must weigh several tons penetrates a vehicle in this way … it is a truly freak accident.