Tuesday, 3rd March 2015

Factory blast kills at least 65 in eastern China

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Chinaexplosion1Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong is heading for the site of a deadly factory blast that left 65 dead and over 100 others injured in Kunshan City in east China's Jiangsu Province on Saturday.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang assigned Wang to lead a State Council working team to Kunshan to look into the accident, according to an official statement.

The explosion happened at 7:37 a.m. inside a wheel hub polishing workshop owned by Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co, Ltd.
More than 200 workers were on the site when the explosion happened.

Local health authorities said most of the injured suffered burns and have been treated in hospitals in Kunshan and the nearby cities of Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai.

Chinaexplosion2The two senior executives at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co, Ltd, have been placed under police custody, sources with the Kunshan city government said.

Officials have said the explosion was a work safety accident, and the blast was probably caused by flames igniting dust inside the workshop.

Kunshan Zhongrong is a Taiwanese-invested company in Kunshan's economic and technological development zone, which is 70 kilometers away from Shanghai. Its website said the company has 450 employees and listed General Motors as a client.

An initial probe indicated that the explosion might have been caused by "dust" which ignited inside the workshop, officials said.

Photographs circulated on social networking sites showing charred bodies of victims on trucks or lying on the ground as black smoke billowed from the factory.

Xinhua reporters at the scene said the blast left two large holes in the factory's wall, with large equipment and pieces of broken glass scattered around.

A local radio reporter told Xinhua that she saw a patient, whose clothes and hair were completely burned off and his body "as dark as charcoal."

A medical member of staff at Kunshan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine said most of the injured suffered burns to the body and in the respiratory system.

"Every 10 minutes, an ambulance carrying the injured arrived at our hospital. It's the weekend, so we're sort of understaffed and have had to call for backup," said the staff member, who asked for anonymity.

Health officials said some of the injured have been transferred from Kunshan to nearby cities of Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai.

Doctors and nurses specializing in burns at Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital have arrived at Kunshan to help local hospitals, which are "crowded with injured patients," according to the hospital.

The blast followed a fire and explosion in a petrochemical company in Changzhou City in Jiangsu on Thursday evening, which did not cause casualties.

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua)



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