Shaanxi bus crash: China probes 'smiling official'

Police officers and rescuers inspect the wreckage of a bus and tanker in Yanan Aug 26 A sleeper bus collided with a methane-laden tanker on Sunday

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Chinese officials have launched an investigation into a safety official after images showed him grinning at the scene of a fatal road crash.

The pictures of Yang Dacai sparked an outcry among web users.

Mr Yang, who attended the scene of the bus crash that killed 36 people in Shaanxi on Sunday, defended himself on his microblog, saying he was just trying to cheer people up.

Shaanxi disciplinary officials said they would punish any violations.

'Legal income'

As outrage grew about Mr Yang, web users began to investigate more closely.

They found pictures of him wearing a series of wrist watches that an expert told the China Daily newspaper were worth more than $40,000 (£25,000) in total.

Web users demanded an investigation into his behaviour.

In an unprecedented move, Mr Yang, of Shaanxi's Provincial Bureau of Work Safety, fielded questions from web users on his weibo microblog.

"My heart was heavy when I reached the scene. Junior officials appeared nervous when they were updating me on the situation," he wrote in reply to questions from users.

"I was trying to get them to relax a little, so maybe, in an unguarded moment, I got a little too relaxed myself."

He also explained that he "used legal income" to buy a number of watches.

Shaanxi provincial disciplinary body said it had opened an investigation, and that any "discipline violation or corruption" would be severely dealt with.

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