• A section of a highway in southern China collapsed on Wednesday, causing 18 cars to tumble down a slope.
  • The collapse, which occurred around 2 a.m., resulted in at least 24 deaths.
  • Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise and seeing a hole open up behind them after driving past the collapsed section. 

A section of a highway collapsed early Wednesday in southern China, sending cars tumbling and leaving at least 24 people dead, according to state media.

Eighteen cars fell down a slope after a 58.7-foot long section of the highway collapsed, according to a statement from authorities in Meizhou city in Guangdong province. The incident occurred around 2 a.m.

The death toll had risen to 24 by Wednesday afternoon, according to China’s official Xinhua News agency.

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Parts of Guangdong province has seen record rains and flooding in the past two weeks, as well as hail. Some villages in Meizhou had flooded in early April, and the city had seen heavy rains in recent days.

Collapsed road

An aerial photo shows rescuers working at the site of a collapsed road section of the Meizhou-Dabu Expressway in Meizhou, south China’s Guangdong Province, on May 1, 2024. (Xinhua News Agency via AP)

Witnesses told local media they heard a loud noise and saw a hole open up several meters wide behind them after driving past the section of the road just before it collapsed.

Video and photos in local media showed smoke and fire at the scene, with highway rails slanting downward into the flames. A pile of blackened cars could also be seen on the slope leading down from the highway.

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The ground beneath the highway appeared to have caved in, along with the section of the road that had broken off.

Rescue workers have taken 30 people to the hospital, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

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