Multi-vehicle highway collision kills 12 in China: Xinhua

BEIJING (AFP) - A multi-vehicle collision and subsequent fire on a southern Chinese expressway killed 12 people early Saturday, state media reported, the latest major fatal road accident in the country.

The pileup occurred in Guangdong province at about 2 am on Saturday, Xinhua news agency said, citing local authorities.

The accident happened when a brake malfunction caused a truck carrying wood to roll, triggering collisions with three trucks, a minibus and a car coming from the rear, Xinhua said. Those vehicles subsequently caught fire, it added.

In addition to the deaths, three people were slightly injured in the pileup and were being treated in hospital, the report said.

Fatal road accidents are a serious problem in China, where the highway network and number of new drivers are expanding rapidly while traffic laws and safety are widely flouted.

At least 38 people were killed when a van carrying inflammable liquid hit a bus on a highway in central China in July, Xinhua reported at the time.

And at least 42 people were killed when fire engulfed a bus during rush hour in the city of Xiamen in eastern China's Fujian province in June last year.