Eighteen people had died as of 6 pm on Wednesday after an expressway pileup of dozens of vehicles in Anhui province, local authorities said.
The crash also injured 21 people, 11 of them seriously. All have been hospitalized, according to a statement posted by the Fuyang public security bureau. More than 30 vehicles, including trucks and buses, crashed around 7:45 am on Wednesday on the expressway section in Fuyang's Yingshang county, it said. Some caught fire.
Local authorities, including police officers, firefighters, safety supervisors and medical personnel, quickly arrived at the scene, along with government officials of the city and county, the bureau said, adding that the fires had been extinguished by 10:38 am.
A preliminary investigation found the accident was likely caused by morning fog.
Images broadcast on CCTV on Wednesday afternoon showed goods that had been carried by the trucks scattered on the expressway, and some private cars that were smashed.
A netizen named Onlybelief on Sina Weibo, who claimed to be a witness, said heavy fog descended on the expressway suddenly before the accident - so thick that "it was hard to clearly see the road".