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Blast in power plant kills 21 in central China

The explosion in China’s central Hubei province is a grim reminder of the lack of safety in the country’s industrial sector.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2016 22:09 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
The site of explosions in 2015, one of China’s worst industrial accidents, in Tianjin. Another explosion on Thursday highlighted the poor safety record of China’s industrial sector.(REUTERS)

At least 21 people were killed when an explosion ripped through a power plant in China’s central Hubei province on Thursday, reports said, a grim reminder of the lack of safety in the country’s industrial sector.

The blast occurred in Dangyang city of the province. Five people were also injured, reports said.

The explosion came a year after at least 145 people were killed and more than 670 injured in chemical blasts in Tianjin, 100 km from Beijing.

A steam pipe explosion is said to have caused the blast in Hubei. “A high-pressure steam pipe exploded at the Madian Gangue Power Generation company in Dangyang city around 3.20 pm. The injured were rushed to hospital,” official Xinhua news agency reported.

Most casualties were caused by the blast of steam triggered following the explosion.

Rescue operations began as the blast area was sealed off.A large number of personnel from the fire department were deployed.

The company, established in 2002, is a power and heating supplier and also produces slag, cinder, and oil-based products.

Cell phone photos circulating on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platforms showed smoke rising the from the blast site.

Last year’s blasts in a warehouse attached to Tianjin port destroyed several kilometres of area, including a number of high-rise apartment blocks.The initial blasts killed at least 114 people and 65 were reported missing. The death toll later rose to 145, making it one of China’s worst industrial accidents.

In the aftermath, officials resorted to a complex cleaning process to clear more than 3,000 tonnes of chemicals stored in the sprawling warehouse, including 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide.

According to one report, the military deployed more than 500 troops trained in nuclear and biological warfare for the clean-up amid fears of air and water contamination and reports of the presence of nerve gas.At least a dozen people were arrested last year for negligence.

First Published: Aug 11, 2016 21:18 IST