A tanker truck rear-ended another vehicle on a crowded expressway in the Italian city of Bologna, killing two and injuring up to 70 people in a massive explosion that collapsed part of the highway.
Some of the injured suffered severe burns, authorities said. The midday accident just north of the city created a huge fireball that melted asphalt and created shock waves that shattered windows in a police barracks, injuring some officers.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported the truck was carrying liquefied petroleum gas.
Police video showed the tanker plowing into the back of a truck stopped in traffic. An immediate fire erupted and authorities cleared the highway of most vehicles. A short while later the entire tanker blew up, sending flames across eight lanes of highway and beyond, according to The Associated Press.
After great clouds of black smoke dissipated, a gaping hole could be seen in the expressway.
A woman living more than half a mile away said residents had to flee because of the smoke.
"I was in the house and I heard a huge bang and screams from the window. I saw a huge plume of smoke," Crisina Felicani told Sky TG24. "There was panic in the neighborhood, because it wasn't clear what happened."
The explosion closed a major interchange connecting northern Italy to the Adriatic coast, a popular vacation destination.