Chinese truck driver praised for helping reduce casualties after road collapse

A Chinese truck driver has been praised for parking his vehicle across a highway and preventing more cars from tumbling down a slope after a section of the road in the country’s mountainous south collapsed and killed at least 48 people.

Wang Xiangnan was driving on Wednesday along the road in Guangdong province, a vital economic hub in southern China.

At around 2am local time, Mr Wang saw several vehicles moving in the opposite direction of the four-lane road and a fellow driver soon informed him about the collapse, local media reported.

Meanwhile, his wife got out of the truck to alert other drivers about the situation, it said.

“I didn’t think too much. I just wanted to stop the vehicles,” Mr Wang told the Chinese news outlet.

Mr Wang’s courageous actions not only garnered praise from Chinese social media users but also recognition from the China Worker Development Foundation.

The foundation announced on Friday that in partnership with a car company it had awarded Mr Wang 10,000 yuan (£1,100).

A charity project linked to tech giant Alibaba Group Holding also gave an equal amount to Mr Wang, newspaper Dahe Daily reported.

Mr Wang told the newspaper he would donate the money to the families of the collapse victims.

The accident came after a month of heavy rains in Guangdong.

Some of the 23 vehicles that plunged into the deep ravine burst into flames, sending up thick clouds of smoke.

About 30 people were admitted to hospital.

On Saturday, one was discharged from hospital, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The others were improving, but one remains in a serious condition.

On Saturday, the Meizhou city government in Guangdong said in a statement that authorities would conduct city-wide checks on expressways, railways and roads in mountainous areas.

The Chinese government had sent a vice premier to oversee recovery efforts and urged better safety measures following calls by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party’s number two official, Premier Li Qiang, to swiftly handle the tragedy.

The move illustrates the concern at a possible public backlash over the disaster, the latest in a series of deadly infrastructure failures.

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