A bus collided with a chemical tanker in northwest China, killing 36 people, state media has said.
Both vehicles caught fire and only three of the 39 people onboard the bus survived the crash, which happened 200 metres from a motorway service station at Yanan city in Shaanxi province at around 2am local time, Xinhua news agency said.
Yue Jiuxiang, a local traffic police official in charge of the rescue operation, said most of the passengers were asleep at the time of the crash.
"Soon after the collision, the bus was engulfed by flames," he told China Central Television.
"The front part of the bus was seriously damaged. Also most of the passengers were sleeping. This is why so many people died."
Traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death in China, according to public health officials, as new and often poorly trained drivers take to roads in greater numbers.
State media reports citing police figures say about 100,000 people have been killed in traffic accidents annually over the past decade, with the figure dipping to 70,000 last year.
In April, 23 people were killed and three injured when a bus and truck collided in the eastern province of Anhui.
Another collision between a tour bus and a truck the same month left 13 dead and 21 injured.