American suffers leg injury in Beijing explosion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
 

A explosion on a footpath injured an American pedestrian in one of the busiest business districts in Beijing yesterday, state media reported.

The explosion took place near a newsstand at Dongzhimen, site of an ancient city gate but now a bustling spot with office buildings, restaurants and shopping centres, at about 3.20pm, Xinhua reported.

Police said a 30-year-old American passerby, who is on a student pass, was slightly injured in the leg. He was taken to hospital.

Police are investigating the blast.

A report posted on the China Central Television website said white smoke rising as high as five storeys was seen after the blast.

There was no fire. No remnants of the container that might have held the explosive material or traces of chemicals were found.

The blast left a hole as large as a wash basin on the plastic wall of the newsstand.

Fragments of decorative plants were scattered on the footpath.

The report said the explosion occurred less than two metres away from the newsstand.

The report, and other internet postings, were removed later, however.

Workers at a nearby Sichuan restaurant said they heard a loud bang. Police arrived soon after, setting up blockades and causing more traffic woes on the already congested roads.

A waitress said she felt as if bees were buzzing in her head after the blast. 'I still feel a little dizzy,' she said.

The restaurant where she works is about 50 metres from the explosion site and is on the third floor of a glass building.

A spokesman for Beijing Public Security Bureau said they had no comment pending the investigation.

Speculation was rife over the cause of the explosion, with some postings on the internet linking it to a terrorist attack. However, others ruled out such a possibility as Beijing is the most guarded city on the mainland.

There was also talk that the blast might have been due to an electrical fault or caused by vapour leaks from ageing heating pipes, many of which are undergoing checks as winter draws near.

Loose talk

The explosion caused intense speculation on the internet

After the explosion, reports said there was smoke and it rose to a height equivalent to this number of storeys: 5

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