Twenty-six people were killed and 15 others injured Friday when a truck packed with fireworks exploded on a highway bridge in the central province of Henan, China National Radio said.

The blast, which occurred shortly before 9:00 a.m., took out an 80-meter (262-foot) section of the bridge and witnesses told the broadcaster that a dozen vehicles plunged to the ground.

The bridge is part of an interprovincial expressway linking the eastern province of Jiangsu with the northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang.

A team led by Deputy Public Safety Minister Huang Ming was sent to the scene to oversee rescue and recovery efforts and initiate an investigation of the cause of the explosion, the official Xinhua new agency said. EFE