7 killed in Guizhou explosives blast
At least seven people were killed and more than 200 were injured yesterday when about 70 tonnes of explosives ignited aboard two trucks in southwestern Guizhou province.
The explosion occurred at around 11.30am, sending a plume of dark smoke high into the sky.
The blast damaged many buildings, shattered windows over a radius of two kilometres and left a hole as large as a football pitch, according to photographs taken at the scene and reports by journalists from various mainland media organisations.
Xinhua quoted a search-andrescue official at the scene as saying the accident occurred when the trucks stopped for repair works near a petrol station in Fuquan city, roughly 100 kilometres east of the provincial capital, Guiyang.
The petrol station was destroyed, though no additional explosions were triggered with its fuel.
The vehicles were transporting unspecified types of explosives to Guiyang from the adjacent province of Hunan, and the blast occurred in Machangping town, the report said.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known and an investigation is ongoing.
Among the injured, 25 were in serious condition and one was critical, Xinhua said.
China Network Television cited an official with the Fuquan No 2 People's Hospital as saying their operations had been paralysed because the huge explosion had damaged almost all the medical apparatuses and shattered all the windows.
'As we cannot carry out a single operation, the patients have all been transferred to other hospitals nearby,' the official said.
More than 160 victims in the accident were sent to the Fuquan No1 People's Hospital, which was short of medical supplies, according to the Xiaoxiang Morning Post, which is based in Changsha , Hunan.
Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, Guizhou party boss Li Zhanshu and Guizhou governor Zhao Kezhi called for an all-out effort to save the injured, as well as for a thorough investigation into the explosion to identify those responsible, Xinhua reported, adding that an investigative taskforce would be set up.
Zhao rushed to the scene after the accident. Rescue efforts were finished before nightfall, according to the report.
When contacted by telephone yesterday, government officials with Fuquan city and Machangping township refused to give any information about the blast.