Blast reduces city landmark to rubble

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 12:00am

A massive explosion rocked the centre of Guangzhou yesterday.

At 12.09pm, the old Guangzhou Gymnasium was destroyed in China's biggest controlled explosion.

Originally scheduled for 11am, the gymnasium's destruction was delayed so that Chinese Central Television could broadcast it live across the country.

Guangdong Vice-Governor Xu Deli triggered the blast from a VIP platform 100 metres away. The 43,000 square-metre building collapsed inwards in a perfectly executed detonation. Eight hundred pigeons were then released.

A total of 336kg of explosives had been packed in more than 8,000 holes drilled at strategic points throughout the structure.

The gymnasium had been a city landmark for more than 43 years.