Accident involving 56 vehicles leaves 17 dead in China

A huge pile-up on a Chinese motorway killed at least 17 people when a total of 56 vehicles crashed into one another in winter weather on Monday (Nov 21).
A huge pile-up on a Chinese motorway killed at least 17 people when a total of 56 vehicles crashed into one another in winter weather on Monday (Nov 21). PHOTO: XINHUA

BEIJING (AFP) - A huge pile-up on a Chinese motorway killed at least 17 people when a total of 56 vehicles crashed into one another in winter weather, state media said on Tuesday (Nov 22).

The accident happened on Monday (Nov 21) in snow and rainy weather in the northern province of Shanxi, on an expressway linking Beijing with Kunming, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

Pictures of the scene showed lorries scattered haphazardly across the road, some of them overturned, and burnt-out wrecks of cars.

Another 37 injured people were stable after treatment, Xinhua said.

Traffic accidents are common in China, with the World Health Organisation estimating that more than 260,000 people were killed on the country's roads in 2013.

The WHO figures are strikingly higher than official pronouncements, in a country where government data is often questioned, with the National Bureau of Statistics reporting 58,539 traffic fatalities that year - less than a quarter of the WHO's approximation.