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China highway collapse: Death toll rises to over 40

May 2, 2024

Chinese state media reported 48 people were killed when a section of a highway collapsed. Search efforts are underway despite bad weather a day after part of a road fell in China's Guangdong province.

Rescuers work at the site of a road cave-in on a section of the Meizhou-Dabu Expressway:
Rescuers work at the site of a road cave-in on a section of the Meizhou-Dabu ExpresswayImage: VCG/IMAGO

The death toll from a highway collapse in China's Guangdong province climbed to 48 people, state media said on Thursday, as rescue efforts continued.

Thirty people were wounded in the incident.

A section of the Meizhou-Dabu Expressway collapsed on Wednesday at 2:10 a.m. local time, triggered by heavy rain.

The 17.9-meter-long (58.7-foot) stretch of collapsed road caused 23 vehicles to plummet down the steep slope below, according to the Meizhou city government.

"As of 5:30 a.m. on (Thursday)... 36 people have died, and 30 people have been injured," the state Xinhua news agency said, adding that the injuries were not life-threatening.

How are rescue efforts going after the highway collapsed?

President Xi Jinping called on officials to "go all-out in on-site rescue work and treatment of the injured, and arrange for the management of risks and hidden dangers in a timely manner", state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday.

The search operation has been complicated by steady rain, gravel and soil coming down at the accident site, putting rescue workers at risl, a fire department official told Chinese media.

CCTV footage showed excavators digging through the muddy hillside below the collapsed road as a crane lifted burnt and wrecked vehicles onto a lorry.

CCTV reported that around 500 people have been deployed to support the rescue efforts.

The provincial government has "mobilized elite specialized forces and gone all out to carry out... search and rescue", Xinhua reported.

The southern province of Guangdong has witnessed a series of disasters due to extreme weather conditions in recent weeks.

Heavy rains trigger deadly flooding in China's Guangdong

dvv/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)