BEIJING – A truck carrying fireworks ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations exploded and destroyed part of an elevated highway Friday in central China, killing at least 26 people as it sent vehicles plummeting 30 meters (about 100 feet) to the ground, state media said.
The huge blast destroyed an 80-meter (80-yard) stretch of highway outside the city of Sanmenxia in Henan province, and was powerful enough to shatter windows of a nearby truck stop.
Emergency crews closed the highway at the accident site, said China National Radio, which reported the death toll of 26. The Xinhua News Agency reported four deaths but said search and rescue efforts were continuing. At least 15 people were injured and sent to nearby hospitals, the Henan Commercial Newspaper reported.
Photos posted on the popular news site Sina.com by Chinese netizens showed a stretch of elevated highway gone, with a truck perched precariously at the broken edge. Other photos showed wrecked trucks below and blackened chunks of scattered debris, including collapsed sections of highway, wrecked trucks and cargo containers.