44 dead in blast at industrial park in eastern China

Beijing: 44 people have died in an explosion at an industrial park in eastern China on Friday.

The explosion occurred on Thursday following a fire in a fertilizer factory in a chemical industrial park in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, according to the government of Xiangshui county.

The death toll till early Friday morning was officially stated to be 44, reported state-run China Daily.

The blast left 32 people in a critical condition and while 58 were seriously injured, the local authority stated. The Ministry of Emergency Management said 88 people have been rescued from the site of the incident.

Eye-witnesses said several workers were trapped after buildings were knocked down by the shockwave stated to be a mild tremor caused by the blast which took place in a pesticide plant. The blast also shattered windows of nearby residential houses.

The fire fighter brigade of Jiangsu has mobilised 176 fire trucks with 928 personnel to join the rescue mission, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.

A professor of applied chemistry at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, in an interview with CCTV, said the leak of toxic chemicals might have affected the people and environment in the surrounding areas.

The residents should be evacuated from the place as soon as possible, the profesor said.

According to the city’s environmental protection authority, the explosion had a negative influence on the air quality in the chemical park and its surrounding areas within a 500-meter radius, but the strong winds are expected to lift the heavy smoke.

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