Fireworks Blamed in Fatal Bridge Collapse

Chinese state media say 8 dead, 13 injured
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2013 1:55 PM CST
Fireworks Blamed in Fatal Bridge Collapse
A rescue worker with a dog looks for victims at the accident site where an expressway bridge partially collapsed in Mianchi County, Sanmenxia, central China's Henan Province.   (AP Photo)

A fireworks truck may have been responsible for destroying a freeway bridge in central China yesterday and killing at least eight people, AFP reports. With the 260-foot span of concrete lying in a heap of twisted cars and trucks, China National Radio first reported the death toll at 26, but state media scaled that back to eight dead and 13 injured. Witnesses heard an explosion but disagreed on whether the fireworks truck caused the collapse or blew up on impact, reports Australia's News Network.

Users of Chinese social media were wary of blaming the truck: ''Firecrackers and fireworks are not enough to destroy a bridge,'' wrote one user on China's equivalent of Twitter. "If a poor quality bridge is destroyed by firecrackers going off, it's not a question of a loss of face, some officials have to be fired." China's roads are already packed this time of year—Lunar New Year—as hundreds of millions of people travel for the February 10 event that often includes fireworks. About 70,000 people die and 300,000 are injured every year on China's roads, according to state media. (More China stories.)

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