26 Die as Fireworks Truck Explodes in China

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As many as 26 people have been killed after an explosion on a truck carrying fireworks caused a road bridge to collapse in central China, reports say.

Fireworks Truck

The huge blast took place on the Yichang Bridge in Henan Province, injuring dozens of people, and killing at least eight, according to state media.

Photographs posted on social media just after the accident at 8.50 a.m. local time showed a large truck lying on its side way below the highway.

Another photo showed what appears to be a remarkable escape for other drivers with at least one vehicle seen balancing on the edge of the bridge.

Up to 25 vehicles fell from the 30 metre bridge - six of which have been recovered - suggesting that the death toll could have been much worse.

Details of exactly what happened are not clear but witnesses say they saw the truck explode and "about 10" cars blown off the bridge by the blast.

The Yichang Bridge forms part of a busy multi-lane highway in central China.

Local media reports claim that the south side of the bridge collapsed completely and that cracks have also appeared on the northern carriageway.

The details of the cause remain uncertain, but badly constructed bridges and an abundance of badly regulated fireworks are common in China.

Annually, fireworks form a central part of Chinese New Year next weekend. Revelers use fireworks to celebrate, sometimes paying little attention to safety.

UPDATE: The state news agency had reported that 26 people were killed. Only eight have been confirmed dead; no reason was given for the discrepancy.