Yesterday, a fireworks truck exploded on an expressway bridge in the central province of Henan, leaving at least nine dead. The New York Times reports:
A truck laden with fireworks exploded on an elevated expressway in central China on Friday, unleashing a blast that threw vehicles 30 yards to the ground below and killing at least nine people, state news reports said.
The truck was on an expressway near Sanmenxia in Henan Province in morning fog when the truck erupted, causing an 87-yard section of the Yichang Bridge to collapse, according to the Web site of Dahe Daily, a newspaper in Henan, which quoted rescue officials at the site. Earlier, officials had raised the possibility that a bridge collapse set off the explosion.
Fireworks are a tradition of China’s traditional Lunar New Year celebrations, which begin on Feb. 9, and the explosion was a reminder of the dangers brought by the crush of people and goods on the move before the holiday.
[...]China Central Television reported that one eyewitness injured in the accident said that because of an earlier accident before the explosion, traffic had been snarled on the expressway and a number of vehicles had crashed into one another.
Initial coverage reported at least 26 were killed in the explosion and a further 15 injured, though more recent coverage claims lower numbers of casualties.
This incident highlights safety concerns surrounding the traditional use of fireworks in Spring Festival celebrations. From The Guardian:
The accident is a stark reminder of safety hazards often associated with Chinese new year celebrations, which begin this year on 10 February. 5,945 fire accidents were reported during the first day of last year’s spring festival alone, according to Xinhua.
In 2006, 367 people were killed at a temple fair in Henan when a storeroom of
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