China highway crash explosion kills 43
21 July 2014
On July 21, a van loaded with alcohol crashed into a passenger coach on a section of the Shanghai to Kunming Expressway in central China's Hunan Province. A huge explosion followed and flames engulfed five vehicles, killing 43 and injuring a further six, four of whom are in a critical condition. Most of victims were identified as migrant workers from Yibin.
According to Xinhua, the van had been illegally remodelled and was carrying around 6.5 tons of alcohol when the accident happened.
"Without proper facilities to carry the alcohol, the van itself is more or less a moving bomb on the highway," a member of the investigation team told Xinhua.
"About 200 million tons of dangerous chemicals are transported in China every year. It takes great effort to rule out all the danger. We cannot simply rely on the carriers. It requires highway management departments too," he said.
According to China’s transport ministry, the number of highway deaths fell to 60,000 in 2012 from 104,000 in 2003. However, a study in 2011 claimed the actual number of accidents in the country was twice the size as stated by local police, AFP said.