heavily laden with fireworks, exploded on an elevated highway on the G30 expressway near Sanmenxia, to the east of Xi'an in China's Henan province. The G30 is apparently the country's longest road.
The force of the explosion sent six vehicles plummeting off the highway into a ravine 30 meters below. Survivors are being retrieved by emergency teams.
Initially, Chinese radio put the number of dead at 26, but this has since been removed from their websites. 11 injured people were rushed to two nearby hospitals, three of whom have died.
officials, Chinese state news said that the explosion happened at 8:52am local time (00:52 GMT) and that it has destroyed an 80-meter section of the road.
is reporting that the Ministry of Public Security has sent a team to the blast site to establish the cause of the explosion.
has a series of photos of the site of the explosion.
In the run
up to the Chinese New Year, happening on February 10, accidents involving fireworks are relatively commonplace. Due to public demand, large quantities of fireworks are transported throughout China, often under unsafe conditions. Apparently in 2006, a fireworks storeroom exploded in Henan province, killing 36 people.
road safely has recently been under discussion as the government apparently delayed plans to introduce harsher punishments.
The public has been complaining about traffic violations, as fatal road accidents are quite common in China, with over 60,000 people dying on the roads in 2011 in accidents largely attributed to lax safety regulations.
Regarding firework related accidents, the Chinese government reportedly outlawed fireworks from 1993 to 2005, but ultimately lifted the ban due to intense public pressure.