At least nine people were killed and several others injured today when a bridge collapsed in central China after a truck carrying fireworks intended for the Chinese New Year exploded, causing several vehicles to tumble from the elevated highway.
An 80-meter-long section of the bridge collapsed in central China's Henan Province this morning after the truck carrying fireworks exploded on it, police said.
Though an initial death toll of 26 was reported by China Radio International, state-run Xinhua news agency later said that nine people were killed and 13 others injured in the tragic accident.
State television said that contrary to earlier presumption that the truck explosion caused the collapse, officials are investigating whether the collapse of the 30 meter high viaduct lead to the explosion of the truck.
Footage by the state CCTV and video clips posted in microblog sites presented a ghastly picture with nearly dozen shattered vehicles strewn around in the debris.
One picture showed a heavily laden truck precariously standing close to the collapsed part of the bridge.
The explosion and the subsequent collapse of the bridge lead to several vehicles to tumble from the 30-meter-high bridge in Mianchi County of Sanmenxia City, local officials said.
Fireworks are a huge attraction during the fortnight of the long Chinese New Year celebrations starting February 10.
Six vehicles have been retrieved from the debris. Search and rescue efforts were under way.
Traffic restrictions were imposed on the expressway after the accident.
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