At least 35 people have been killed and 11 injured after a bus crashed and caught fire in China's central province of Hunan, according to Chinese state media.

The bus burst into flames after crashing into a barrier along a highway on Sunday morning in Hunan province's Yizhang county, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Two children were among those killed, while four of the 11 people taken to hospital were seriously injured, Xinhua said, adding that the driver of the bus, which carried 55 people, had been arrested.

Earlier reports had said that 21 people were treated in hospital.

Local officials believe that an oil leak caused by the bus crashing into a roadside guard rail may have caused the fire, Xinhua said.

The cause of the crash remained unclear.

 

Traffic accidents are common in China, with more than 250,000 people dying each year on the country's roads, according to the World Health Organization.

Long-distance buses are popular in the country as a cheap way of travelling between cities, and competition between bus firms can be fierce.

China has seen repeated bus fires in recent years which have caused a number of deaths.

Source: Agencies