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Death toll rises to 15 after China gas plant blast

AFP
Beijing
The death toll from a huge explosion that rocked a gas plant in central China has risen to 15, state media said Saturday.
Friday’s blast at the Henan Coal Gas Group factory left another 15 people seriously wounded and more with light injuries, said the state-run People’s Daily.
The blast shattered windows and doors of buildings in a three-kilometre (1.9-mile) radius.
It occurred in the air separation unit of Henan Coal’s factory, state broadcaster CCTV said, with the official Xinhua news agency saying a device in the factory exploded at 5:45 pm on Friday.
All production at the plant has been stopped. More than 270 rescuers were on the scene, Xinhua said, citing the emergency management ministry.
“Many windows and doors within a three-kilometre radius were shattered, and some interior doors were also blown out by the blast,” CCTV said on its Twitter-like Weibo social media account.
Local media showed amateur videos of a massive column of black smoke billowing from the factory and debris littering the roads.
Other images showed the doors and windows of homes blown out and shuttered shops with dented metal fronts.
A bloodied man was seen being helped out of a van in a video posted on social media.
AFP could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced. In March, a blast at a chemical plant in eastern Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured hundreds.
The powerful explosion in the eastern city of Yancheng toppled several buildings in the industrial park, blew out windows of nearby homes and even dented metal garage doors.

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