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GUANGZHOU:  A general view shows a section of the collapsed Lixinsha bridge over a waterway in Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province on February 22, 2024. Five people were killed and three others remained missing after an empty cargo ship struck a bridge in southern China on February 22, causing part of it to collapse. – AFP
GUANGZHOU: A general view shows a section of the collapsed Lixinsha bridge over a waterway in Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province on February 22, 2024. Five people were killed and three others remained missing after an empty cargo ship struck a bridge in southern China on February 22, causing part of it to collapse. – AFP
Five dead after cargo ship hits bridge in southern China
Dozens of rescuers dispatched including reinforcements from Shenzhen

BEIJING: Five people were killed when an empty cargo ship struck a bridge in southern China on Thursday, causing part of it to collapse, authorities and state media reported. The container vessel was travelling between the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou when it rammed into Lixinsha Bridge at around 5:31 am (2131 GMT), state broadcaster CCTV said.

The boat “came into contact with... the bridge pillars, causing the roadway above to collapse”, according to CCTV. The collision sent five vehicles tumbling off the bridge and either into the water or onto the ship below, the Guangzhou maritime affairs bureau said. The bureau initially stated that two people had died and three people were missing.

A CCTV reporter later cited the bureau as saying that “all of the three missing people have been found without any vital signs”. The deceased included the driver of an empty bus, the driver of an electric scooter, and three people in a small goods vehicle, CCTV said.

The broadcaster added that the collision occurred “due to improper operations by the crew” of the ship, named the Lianghui 688. Photos published by CCTV on Friday morning showed the red and white vessel lodged at a diagonal angle between two of the bridge’s pillars as water cascaded out of severed pipes on to its deck, where some debris was visible.

Footage showed rescue personnel in orange jumpsuits racing in dinghies across a murky waterway towards a high bridge with a yawning gap in its middle. Other patrol boats flashed their lights as they circled the area where the collapse took place, though the cargo ship appeared to have been towed away. CCTV reported that dozens of rescuers were dispatched to the scene, including reinforcements from the nearby tech hub of Shenzhen. Two other people were rescued and taken to hospital where they remain in a “stable condition”, the broadcaster said.

It added that a member of the ship’s crew was “lightly injured” in the incident, and the vessel’s owner had been brought under “control”. The region where the collision took place is a major industrial and manufacturing area crisscrossed by a dense network of shipping routes.

Similar accidents have occurred in China before, including in 2012 when a newly built cruise liner bumped into a bridge in the eastern city of Wenzhou, causing no casualties. In 2007, nine people were killed when a cargo vessel struck a 1,600-metre-long bridge in southern Guangdong province, causing a section of it to collapse. – AFP

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