The death toll from a highway collapse in southern China has risen to 36 News

Recovery efforts are continuing amid incessant rain after part of the road collapsed early Wednesday.

The death toll from a highway collapse in southern China has risen to 36 people, while emergency teams continue their efforts to recover cars from the scene.

“As of 5:30 a.m. on May 2… 36 people had died and 30 others were injured,” the Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that the lives of the injured were not in danger.

The road collapsed in the early hours of Wednesday morning as China began the major May holidays, which is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year on roads.

Aerial photos showed that a section of the S12 highway between Meizhou City and Dabo Prefecture had fallen as the ground beneath it collapsed, sending mud dripping onto the steep, forested hills.

State broadcaster CCTV said the incident was a “natural geological disaster… [that occurred] Under the influence of continuous heavy rain.”

She added that a section of the road measuring 17.9 meters (58.7 feet) long collapsed, and 23 vehicles have so far been found in the muddy hole.

Rescuers used cranes to pull the cars out of the mud [Wang Ruiping/Xinhua via EPA]

Several people who witnessed the accident told local media that they heard “sounds of falling cars” followed by a “huge explosion.”

“We stopped and got out of the car to check and had no idea the road had collapsed,” one of them told the Guizhou Evening News.

The highway was closed in both directions, and about 500 emergency personnel, including firefighters and mine rescue experts, were deployed to the site to assist in the rescue operation.

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Pictures from the accident scene showed the damaged cars being pulled out of the mud by a giant crane, with excavators placed on standby. Rescuers also search using dogs and life detectors.

A fire department official told Chinese media that search efforts were complicated by continuous rain, as well as the movement of gravel and soil at the site, posing some risks to workers.

The accident is the latest in a series of disasters linked to severe weather events in Guangdong in recent weeks.

Heavy rains last month caused floods in a different area of ​​the province, killing four people and forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 residents.

Last week, a tornado tore through part of the greater city of Guangzhou, killing five people.

The heavy rains were heavier than usually expected at this time of year, and were linked to accelerating climate change.

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