BEIJING - A bus fire that killed 11 kindergarteners in eastern China last month was intentionally set by their disgruntled driver, who was angry at losing overtime wages, authorities said on Friday (June 2).
The driver and a female teacher also died in the inferno, which erupted inside a tunnel as the children headed to an international school in Shandong province on the morning of May 9.
Chinese officials said the children were aged between three and six, with five from South Korea and six from China. But the South Korean embassy has said that 10 were South Korean, including five with dual citizenship.
The government of Weihai city, where the tragedy occurred, said the investigation concluded that the blaze was a case of arson committed by the driver.
"The driver was disgruntled because his overtime and night shift allowance were stopped, causing his income to plummet," the city government said on its Weibo microblogging account.
The driver had brought gasoline onto the bus, the government said. The fire was located near the driver's seat. A lighter cap was found nearby along with gasoline residue.
Authorities ruled out a short circuit or a traffic accident as other potential causes.
But South Korean family of some of the victims took issue with the official findings that the driver was to blame.