Sixteen killed in China highway pile-up

BEIJING (AFP): A highway pile-up in central China has killed 16 people and injured dozens, authorities said Sunday, with footage aired on local media showing burning trucks and smashed cars.

Nearly 50 vehicles were involved in multiple collisions along a highway in Hunan province within the span of 10 minutes on Saturday evening, "with some vehicles catching on fire", local traffic police said in a statement.

Footage republished online by the state-owned People's Daily showed multiple burning trucks bearing the logos of delivery companies, crushed and overturned cars, and a dark cloud of smoke rising from the crashes.

Traffic police said 16 people were killed in the pile-up, including seven in a single collision, while 66 others were injured.

"The injured were promptly sent to hospital for thorough treatment, including eight whose injuries were relatively severe, whose vital signs are currently stable," the traffic police said.

People's Daily said the pile-up took place in the provincial capital Changsha, and that more than 180 rescue workers were dispatched to the scene on Saturday.

China's emergency management ministry on Sunday said it had called for an investigation into the cause of the accident.

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