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A Chinese driver is praised for helping reduce casualties in a highway collapse that killed 48

BEIJING: A Chinese truck driver was praised in local media Saturday 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 Wednesday along the highway in Guangdong province, a vital economic hub in southern China. At around 2 a.m., Wang saw several vehicles moving in the opposite direction of the four-lane highway and a fellow driver soon informed him about the collapse, local media reported.
Reacting swiftly, Wang, a former soldier, positioned his truck to block the highway, effectively stopping dozens of vehicles from advancing into danger, Jiupai News quoted Wang as saying. 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,” Wang told the Chinese news outlet.
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 Friday that in partnership with a car company it had awarded Wang 10,000 yuan ($1,414). A charity project linked to tech giant Alibaba Group Holding also gave an equal amount to Wang, newspaper Dahe Daily reported. Wang told the newspaper he would donate the money to the families of the collapse victims.
Local media also reported that another man had knelt down to prevent cars from proceeding on the highway.
The accident came after a month of heavy rains in Guangdong. Some of the 23 vehicles that plunged into the deep ravine burst in flames, sending up thick clouds of smoke.
About 30 people were hospitalized. On Saturday, one was discharged from the hospital, state broadcaster CCTV reported. The others were improving, but one remains in serious condition.
On Saturday, the Meizhou city government in Guangdong said in a statement that authorities would conduct citywide checks on expressways, railways and roads in mountainous areas. A team led by the provincial governor is investigating the cause of the collapse, reported.
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 No. 2 official, Premier Li Qiang, to swiftly handle the tragedy.
The dispatch of Zhang Guoqing, who is also a member of one of the ruling Communist Party’s leading bodies, illustrates the concern over a possible public backlash over the disaster, the latest in a series of deadly infrastructure failures.

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