A person injured in the accident receives treatment at a hospital in Nanchang county, Jiangxi province, on Sunday. Nineteen people had died as a result of the accident as of Sunday. (WAN XIANG / XINHUA)
The number of casualties in a deadly traffic accident in the small hours on Sunday in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, has increased to 19, according to local authorities.
The accident happened at 12:49 am on a highway in Youlan township in Nanchang county. Twenty people were also injured and have been hospitalized, the publicity department of the Nanchang county government said.
The police are investigating the accident.
Heavy fog may have been a factor to blame for the tragedy. In a post on Sunday, traffic police warned drivers of low visibility across the county as a result of fog, saying conditions were prone to cause accidents.
Aside from turning on their fog lights, drivers were strongly recommended to maintain a safe distance from other cars. They were also advised to avoid changing lanes randomly.
Some media reported that a heavy truck crashed into a funeral ceremony causing the casualties.
Between 60 and 70 people were attending the ceremony when the heavy truck drove into the crowd, knocking many of them down, one unnamed male survivor was quoted as saying by Beijing Youth Daily.
"The funeral was for my 81-year-old uncle. We were getting ready to leave as the ceremony was due to finish in 10 minutes and the bus had already arrived to pick us up," he recalled.
He was struck in the right leg. "I suffered a comparatively slight injury. My wife was killed on-site. She was only 43," he said, adding that many of those killed were friends and relatives.
Two of the deceased man's three sons were killed, and the third was injured, he added.