Website Jimu News quoted a local resident as saying the victims were mourners from Taoling village who had set up a funeral tent by the side of the road, as is customary in rural China, and were hit by a passing truck as they turned to were preparing to travel to the local crematorium in the morning.
Several of the victims were her neighbors, the woman — identified only by her last name, Deng — told the site, which is published by the newspaper Hubei Daily in a neighboring province.
Jimu quoted another unidentified villager as confirming that version of events, adding that the scene had already been cleared. The condition of the injured is unknown.
Major traffic accidents, often caused by tired drivers and poorly maintained or overloaded vehicles, used to be common, but stricter regulations have reduced the number in recent years.
Enforcement efforts on the state of vehicles and drivers and passenger numbers double around the holiday, China’s main holiday for family gatherings when tens of millions of migrant workers return to their hometowns.
With most of the COVID-19 restrictions coming to an end, the number of such trips is expected to double this year to more than 2 billion on and around this year’s week-long festival season, which kicks off on January 22.