China: Cargo ship hits bridge in Guangzhou, killing 2

At least two people have died and three others are missing after a ship collided with a bridge in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou on Thursday, causing a part of it to collapse.

According to the Guangzhou maritime affairs bureau, the collision sent five vehicles, including a motorbike, off the bridge and either into the water or onto the empty cargo ship below.

Rescuers workers have rushed to the site of the accident, official reports said.

China’s state television showed footage in which the vessel can be seen wedged between two bridge pillars and a significant gap can be seen in the two-lane bridge above it.

What happened?

The freighter was traveling between the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou when it slammed into the Lixinsha Bridge at around 5:30 am local, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The boat “came into contact with… the bridge pillars, causing the roadway above to collapse,” CCTV said.

Four vehicles and an electric motorbike were knocked off the bridge.

Two vehicles — including a bus — plunged into the water and three other vehicles ended up on the vessel, the broadcaster said.

The bus was only carrying its driver. It was not immediately clear if the driver survived.

The container ship which hit the Lixinsha Bridge being towed away. Debris of vehicles which have fallen from the bridge are seen in the ship.
The container ship which hit the Lixinsha Bridge being towed away. Debris of vehicles which have fallen from the bridge are seen in the ship.Image: Lu Hanxin/Xinhua/picture alliance

As of 10 a.m., “two people have been rescued, two have died, one crew member has been lightly injured, and three people remain missing,” a statement from the Guangzhou bureau, posted online said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the barge’s owner has been brought under “control”, CCTV said.

Major industrial hub

Guangzhou is a major industrial and manufacturing region and comprises a dense network of shipping routes.

Work to strengthen the bridge — which connects residents to the cities of Zhongshan and Shenzhen via land — began in 2022 because of safety concerns, CCTV said in its report.

But the anti-collision and strengthening works have been repeatedly delayed, it said.

The city’s transportation department has marked end-August this year for completion of the works in the latest extension, CCTV added.

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