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China

Fireworks truck explodes, causes China highway collapse

Part of an elevated highway in China caved in on Friday after a truck carrying fireworks exploded on the G30 expressway, the country's longest road. The upcoming Lunar New Year causes fireworks sales to spike in China.

State-run media in China reported on Friday that five people were killed in Henan province when part of the G30 expressway collapsed, contesting initial reports that had claimed 26 people died. The Xinhua news agency reported five deaths but said search and rescue efforts were ongoing, while China National Radio had previously put the death toll at 26.

Several vehicles were reported to have fallen from the elevated section of the highway after a truck laden with fireworks exploded, severely damaging a roughly 80-meter (262-foot) section of the road.

The incident occurred near the city of Sanmenxia, to the east of Xi'an, in the inland, eastern province of Henan.

China celebrates the Lunar New Year, which falls on Februar 10 in 2013. Sales of fireworks usually soar ahead of the festivities. Hundreds of millions embark on long road journeys as well, returning to their family homes for the public holiday.

The G30 expressway is China's longest road, running nearly 4,400 kilometers (2,734 miles) from China's western border with Kazakhstan to the eastern Yellow Sea.

msh/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa)