12 dead in gas explosion in residential area

Chinese ambulance, illustration – Anthony WALLACE / AFP

At least 12 people were killed and nearly 140 were injured on Sunday in a gas line explosion in a residential area in central China’s Hubei province, local authorities said. Relief operations are continuing, the disaster management office in Shiyan City, where the blast occurred at around 6:30 a.m., said in a statement.

Videos taken by witnesses showed several buildings in ruins and rescuers evacuating shocked survivors on stretchers. The explosion in particular devastated a vegetable market in the city where there were at that time a large number of traders and residents having their breakfast there, a witness told the official newspaper. Global Times.

Relatively frequent accidents

“I heard a huge bang and I immediately took shelter under the table, believing it was an earthquake,” said a man managing a small restaurant near the site of the explosion. The state-run CCTV broadcast footage of buildings with collapsed walls and shattered windows. We see rescuers digging through the debris by hand, sometimes with a shovel.

An investigation has been opened to determine the causes of the explosion, the statement said. The emergency management ministry also dispatched a team to the scene. Industrial accidents are relatively frequent in China, due to poor compliance with safety rules and corruption within the services supposed to ensure their proper application.

The explosion came the day after eight people died after a toxic product leaked from a chemical plant in Guiyang, in the southwest.

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