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There has been a deadly explosion on board a truck carrying fireworks on a main highway in central China.

At least six people are reported to have died, and up to a dozen more injured, in the blast which destroyed an 80-metre long section of a bridge in Henan province.

The initial death toll given by state authorities had been much higher.

Several vehicles plummeted some 30-metres to the ground. Some reports says many cars were thrown over the edge by the force of the blast, the cause of which remains unclear.

Fireworks explosions, however, are common in China, especially around the Chinese new year holiday period, due to quality control problems and poor safety standards.

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