China: 24 dead when part of highway gives way


At least 24 people died after a section of a highway collapsed in the early hours of Wednesday due to recent heavy rain in southern China’s Guangdong province.

The state news agency Xinhua says a stretch of road between Meizhou city and Dabu district gave way on Wednesday around 02:10 local time.

It is claimed that an almost 18 m long stretch of road fell away.

A total of 20 vehicles and 54 people plunged down the cliff and were consequently trapped.

Around 500 rescue workers were called to the scene during the morning.

By Wednesday afternoon, the death toll stood at 24, with 30 injured in hospital. They are all out of danger, according to Xinhua.

An aerial photo published by state broadcaster CCTV shows numerous car wrecks lying in a deep muddy pit where the highway section once was.

Videos circulating on social media show flames and smoke billowing from the pit at sunrise.

“You can’t go any further,” says a man in one of the videos. He then explains that parts of the road have given way.

AFP could not immediately verify the videos.

State broadcaster CCTV labeled the collapse as a “natural geological disaster… (which occurred) under the impact of continuous heavy rain”.

Densely populated Guangdong has been hit by heavy rainstorms in recent weeks, causing severe flooding and landslides in some areas.