Five people were killed when a container barge crashed into a viaduct, causing a section of it to collapse, state media reported today.

The barge was sailing empty between Foshan and Guangzhou (Guangzhou), the provincial capital of the southern province of Guangdong, when it ran into a pillar of the Lixinsha Bridge in Nansha County at around 5:30am. (23:30 Greek time), as a result of which part of the roadway collapsed.

Four vehicles and an electric motorcycle fell off the bridge due to the collision. Two vehicles, including a bus, plunged into the water and three others ended up on the barge, according to images broadcast by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. Only the driver was on the bus.

“The accident claimed the lives of five people (the bus driver, the motorcycle driver and three people in a van),” CCTV reported.

“Two people were taken to hospital and are now in a stable condition. A member of the barge’s crew was slightly injured,” according to the report.

More than 100 rescuers, including six divers, and about 15 boats are involved in the rescue efforts, according to local media and officials who briefed reporters.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. CCTV reported that the accident was caused by incorrect actions of the crew. Local officials said that residents of the area were evacuated from their homes and that the owner of the barge was arrested.