Beijing: At least 31 people were killed and nine others were missing after an explosion caused by the collision of two tankers in north China’s Shanxi province, authorities said Thursday.

The accident happened at 2.50 p.m. when two tankers loaded with methanol, a poisonous and flammable liquid often used as a fuel, rear-ended inside the Yanhou tunnel of a highway linking Jincheng city in Shanxi and Jiyuan city in Henan province, Xinhua reported.

Police investigating the site later said the explosion damaged 42 vehicles in the tunnel, making it difficult to confirm the number of deaths.

The toll was updated at a meeting in Jincheng city by an investigation group sent by China’s state council.

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