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Pileups on expressway kill 9
( 2004-01-06 00:08) (China Daily)

The Beijing-Shenyang Expressway was re-opened to traffic yesterday after it had been closed following the collision of more than 100 motor vehicles in heavy fog on Monday morning.

The chain collision happened in the section of the road on Liaoning Province. Five people were killed and at least 20 were seriously injured.

Several other expressways in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, such as the Panjin-Haicheng-Yingkou Line, the Shenyang-Siping Line and the loop line at Shenyang, all started operating again around noon yesterday, according to the provincial expressway administration.

The accidents, which happened at around 8 am on Monday, blocked the traffic for as long as six hours while there was a tailback of vehicles for up to 2.5 kilometres long, said a witness.

According to a report in the Shenyang Evening News, the first two ambulances could not reach the site for half an hour after the accidents happened.

Another five ambulances and more than 30 fire engines were dispatched from Shenyang, the provincial capital.

A total of 320 policemen and firefighters were mobilized to rescue the injured and direct the traffic flow.

By four on Monday afternoon, the expressway had basically been cleared up and all the injured were sent to the Shenyang No 5 Hospital and Central Hospital attached to Shenyang Medical College.

Local authorities regulated that all expressways should be closed in inclement weather such as heavy fog and snow.

The rare heavy fog fell on Monday morning and became so thick later that finally it shrouded nearly all strategic cities in Liaoning, including Shenyang, Dalian, Anshan, Panjin, Yingkou and Jinzhou, making visibility on the road very low.

In the coastal metropolis Dalian, where the fog had even lingered through yesterday evening, more than 150 air flights had been cancelled at the local Zhoushuizi International Airport since Monday morning.

Fortunately in downtown Dalian, however, where the situation was much better than the outskirts, no severe traffic accidents had been reported by last night, according to an official with the city's traffic commanding centre.

No traffic restrictions had been imposed there, added the official.

According to the local meteorological department, the mist was caused by high humidity and is expected to disperse today.

The fog in Shenyang had dispersed by yesterday morning.

In another development, a pile-up involving seven vehicles on the expressway between Leshan and Chengdu cities in Southwest China's Sichuan Province killed four people and injured many others yesterday, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The accident occurred at about seven yesterday morning when the section of the road was shrouded in thick fog.

The road was closed, but re-opened by noon.

Local government officials and police rushed to the scene and the cause of the accident is under investigation.

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