At least 31 people are now known to have died, and nine others remain missing, after an explosion and fire engulfed dozens of vehicles in the Yanhou Tunnel on a highway linking Shanxi’ Province’s Jincheng City and Jiyuan City in Henan Province.
The disaster occurred when a coal truck rear-ended one of a convoy of four tanker trucks loaded with poisonous and highly flammable methanol. The collision resulted in a fire and explosion, which is believed to have caused most of the deaths and injuries as the blast hit nearby cars and commercial vehicles.
Unconfirmed local reports suggest that 53 people are believed to have escaped, including four of the drivers of the coal truck and tanker trucks.
Roads in China are known to be among the most dangerous in the world with more than 70,000 fatalities and 300,000 injuries every year, according to the country’s Public Security Ministry.