The tanker was full of flammable material, so the explosion was immediate. A huge fireball spread on the highway, with the majority of those injured being burned by the flames or hit by flying debris and shards of glass. Reports in the Italian media note that the windows of nearby buildings were also shattered by the blast of the explosion.
“The shockwave from the blast was extremely violent. Many of the injured received cuts from flying glass, which had shattered,” Giovanni Carella, the emergency coordinator for the local fire service, explained.
The blast was felt all the way to the airport terminal, reports say.
As the fire burned strong, part of the bridge collapsed. The fire then spread to a carpark below, with several cars catching fire and exploding, the BBC reports.
Until authorities cleared the highway, many roads in Borgo Panigale were shut down. This caused further delay in traffic, as they served as connection to the nearby airport, which is used by many tourists, especially now that the holiday season is at its peak.
An investigation into the causes of the crash is currently underway. An estimate of the damage caused in the blast hasn’t been made yet, but authorities should go on the record with more details in the coming hours.
As of this moment, all fires have been extinguished and the situation is under control.
#bologna #BorgoPanigale Le immagini della dinamica del grave incidente che ha coinvolto anche un mezzo che trasportava sostanze infiammabili. Indagini in corso #PoliziaStradale pic.twitter.com/aS8NKxTaoA— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) August 6, 2018
#BorgoPanigale #6ago 15.00, squadre #vigilidelfuoco al lavoro: inviate sul posto sezioni operative, nucleo #usar e #cinofili. In corso la ricognizione aerea elicottero reparto volo di Bologna pic.twitter.com/TtPdGSFWz1— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) August 6, 2018
#BorgoPanigale #6ago 17:00, esplosione autocisterna: spente le fiamme, in corso le operazioni di raffreddamento. Squadre #vigilidelfuoco verificano la presenza di vittime pic.twitter.com/PFynIG5aoJ— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) August 6, 2018