15 killed on Chinese motorway as truck ploughs into 31 vehicles
- Incident happened on a notorious downhill stretch of road where at least 57 people are reported to have been killed
- Truck driver detained pending police investigation
At least 15 people were killed and 44 hurt in northwest China on Saturday night when a truck slammed into 31 vehicles on a motorway exit ramp that is regarded as an accident black spot, local media reported.
The driver of the truck, identified as Li Feng, said his vehicle’s brakes failed as he was leaving the Lanzhou-Haikou motorway close to the city of Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
The exit ramp is along a 17km (10 mile) downhill section of the road on which almost 60 people have lost their lives over the past 14 years, according to various media reports.
Chinese news portal Thepaper.cn reported on Sunday that between the motorway’s opening in December 2004 and June of this year, 42 people had been killed and 55 injured in accidents there. Those figures did not take into account the latest fatalities.
The 44 people hurt in Saturday’s crash were being treated in local hospitals, Xinhua said, adding that 10 of them were in a serious condition.
A police investigation is under way into the causes of the accident and Li has been detained, the report said.
Such is the notoriety of the downhill section of the road that during this year’s Spring Festival in February, when hundreds of millions across the country were travelling home for the holidays, traffic police in the area issued warnings to drivers to take extra care and curb their speed.