But the tragedy and hardship of the disaster is hard to grasp until you hear a first-hand tale of survival.
Our friend Ash Sutcliffe over at China Car Times tipped us off to their translation of a forum post at a popular Chinese car site from a Chinese traveler and his efforts to get home. We can't verify the story and didn't have any luck contacting the author, but if true, it's a long but worthy read.
The unnamed writer discovers his route home is shut down due to ice, but is overjoyed to find his alternate route mostly clear and safe. Until a few hours after sunset, when his car begins to slide and his brakes do nothing but vibrate from the ABS trying to do its job. One of several "goods trucks" stops his slide, but luckily he's ok. But his relief is short lived as a a woman grabs him and they, and drivers of the other wrecked cars run to leap behind barriers in the median just as another group of cars plows into the highway pileup.
"In between the barriers there was an empty space. Some guy fell down the hole and was shouting for help, he was shouting like a mad man. I ran to the barriers to have a look, then realised, the road is actually a bridge over a river."
Read the translation at China Car Times for heartbreaking accounts of people trapped in crushed cars, one child lost in the cold darkness and another dead on the side of the road. Let's hope China thaws out soon and that we never have to endure such tragedy.
[Source: xcar.cn via China Car Times]