Six die, 19 injured in highway pile-up in southern China

Overloaded cement truck with faulty brakes ploughs into cars moving slowly to avoid another collision in front of them

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 3:58pm

Six people were killed and another 19 injured in a massive pile-up on a highway in southern China on Saturday night, mainland media reported

The deadly crash involving 19 vehicles was started when a cement truck crashed into the rear of a car ahead on the Qinglian highway, a provincial highway connecting Qingyuan city in Guangdong province with neighbouring Hunan province, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

Before the accident, two other cars had collided ahead, blocking one lane and causing a few kilometres of congestion, the report said.

When the cement tanker reached the tail end of the slowed vehicles, it failed to stop and pushed the car in front for more than 20 metres, crashing and squeezing another 17 vehicles on the road.

Seven vehicles caught fire, according to the report.

Five men and a woman were found dead in two burning vehicles. Five of the injured were rushed to hospital while the others suffered minor injuries.

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Police said the truck’s brakes were faulty and it was dangerously overloaded with 60 tonnes of cement - nearly twice its legal weight limit.

The driver has been detained, according to the report.

Saturday was the second day into the 40-day Lunar New Year travel rush known as Chunyun (Spring movement), the world’s largest annual human migration as people return to their home towns for family reunions.