Two dead and up to 70 injured after tanker explodes on motorway in Bologna

At least two people have been killed with up to 70 others injured after a truck exploded when it collided with a second vehicle.

A tanker transporting flammable substances crashed into a lorry carrying cars, sending a fireball into the sky.

The crash, which occurred on a motorway near Bologna in Italy, also left a bridge partially collapsed.

The incident happened on a stretch of road between Borgo Panigale and Casalecchio near Bologna Airport shortly before 2pm on Monday.

Some people were reportedly hit by flying glass as windows shattered in nearby buildings.

Officials were not immediately aware of the contents of the tanker, but Italian news agency ANSA have claimed it was liquefied petroleum gas.

Italy’s firefighters tweeted that they have sent multiple emergency squads, including one from their urban search and rescue team.

Italian television Sky TG24 said that flames fell to the lower level of the motorway, setting off secondary explosions in a car park below.

Footage from the scene shows flames shooting into the air after the explosion, replaced later by a thick black cloud of smoke.

A gaping hole appears to have formed in the raised motorway next to the tanker.

Firefighters said the flames were extinguished around three hours after the explosion, and they were now working to cool the area down.

A hole has formed on the motorway following the explosion. Credit: AP

The scene, which has been closed off, connects two major main roads that link northern Italy with the Adriatic coast, a popular holiday destination.