A segment of a bridge in the bustling Chinese manufacturing center of Guangzhou buckled following a collision with a freighter, leading to the deaths of at least two individuals as vehicles plunged, as per local authorities’ report on Thursday.

As stated by the authorities, there are three individuals unaccounted for, as mentioned in their public announcement. An empty container ship struck one of the supporting pillars of the double-track Lixinsha Bridge, causing structural damage.

The collision happened around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday in the Nansha district, and an investigation is underway to determine its cause, as stated in the district’s official statement. Photographs released by Chinese state media depicted a sizable section missing from the bridge, the primary route that crosses the Hongqili Channel connecting the Sanmin Island with the rest of the extensive metropolis. A local official informed state media that ferries were being arranged for the local residents.

Five vehicles tumbled when the bridge collapsed, two into the water and three onto the container ship, as per a statement from Guangzhou’s maritime bureau.

Among the vehicles was a bus with only the driver onboard, according to a statement from the bus company, Guangzhou Bus Group, cited in a state media report. It remains unclear whether the driver is among the missing or deceased. A photograph in state media displayed a bus apparently landing on the ship.

Officials mentioned that six scuba divers and a salvage vessel were dispatched to the location, as per the state media.

In 2021, the transportation department in Guangdong Province, with Guangzhou as its capital, agreed to implement anti-collision measures on the bridge’s supports, China Central Television, the state broadcaster, reported. The work was initially planned to conclude in 2022 but was deferred to 2023, and later to August 2024, without providing reasons for the postponement.