Boat accident collapses part of bridge in China, killing at least two people

Part of a bridge in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou collapsed after a container ship crashed into it, killing at least two people as vehicles plummeted, local authorities said Thursday.

Three people were missing according to the authoritieswho said an empty container ship had hit one of the support columns of the two-lane Lixinsha Bridge, fracturing the surface.

The accident occurred around 5:30 a.m. Thursday in Nansha district and its cause is under investigation, the district said in a statement. Photos published by Chinese state media showed a large chunk of the bridge, which is the main thoroughfare across the Hongqili Channel between Sanmin Island and the rest of the sprawling megacity, was missing. A local official told state media that ferries were being provided for residents.

Five vehicles fell when the bridge collapsed, two into the water and three onto the container ship, the Guangzhou maritime bureau said in a statement.

Among the vehicles was a bus whose driver was the only person on board, the bus operator, Guangzhou Bus Group, said in a statement carried by state media. It was unclear whether the driver was among the missing or dead. A photograph published in state media showed a bus that appeared to have landed on the ship.

Six divers and a rescue boat were sent to the scene, authorities said, according to state media.

In 2021, the transportation department of Guangdong province, whose capital is Guangzhou, agreed to implement anti-collision measures on the bridge’s support columns, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. The completion of the works was scheduled for 2022, but was postponed until 2023 and then until August 2024, without the reasons for the delay being explained, the station reported.