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A commuter van carrying workers from two aerospace companies collided head-on with a tractor-trailer Friday on a Mississippi River bridge, killing four people and injuring four others, authorities said.

State police said the van was on the Martin Luther King Bridge before dawn when it struck the 18-wheeler, spilling diesel fuel that caught fire near the Illinois end of the bridge. The flames were quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived.

The wreck closed the busy, four-lane Martin Luther King Bridge between East St. Louis and St. Louis for about five hours. The bridge is one of three crossing the river at St. Louis.

Boeing spokeswoman Lynn Steinberg said five people in the van were Boeing employees and the other two worked for GKN, a British aerospace business with facilities in the region.

Names of those killed were not immediately released. The truck driver was hospitalized in stable condition, and the three injured commuters were hospitalized with conditions ranging from critical to fair.

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