Two dead, 10 injured in blast outside bank
At least two passers-by were killed and more than 10 others injured in a massive blast, reportedly set off by someone armed with a bomb who tried to rob a bank in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, yesterday.
According to pictures and footage taken at the scene and widely circulated on microblogs, some vehicles parked outside the bank were badly damaged, along with the building's facade.
Some victims were seen lying on the dust-covered ground.
The explosion also created a large crater on the ground near the bank's entrance, Wuhan's Chutian Metropolis News reported on its website.
A police officer with the Guangshan public security unit in Hongshan district, where the bank is located, confirmed that the explosion had occurred outside a branch of China Construction Bank at 5.37pm.
'About six or seven injured victims, some of whom may since have died, were sent to a nearby hospital,' he said.
Among the casualties was a woman in her 20s, who died in the blast, a report by Hubei TV said.
The bank is next to a middle school.
The cause of the explosion was not clear, but an official with the city's fire department said the explosion occurred during an attempted robbery, China News Service reported.
The report also quoted an unnamed internet user as saying that the suspect planted the bomb in front of the bank before setting it off.
Xinhua said initial police investigation suggested a pile of unidentified objects next to the bank caused the explosion, ruling out the possibility that it was caused by a gas or fuel leak.
Unconfirmed postings circulating online said an armoured vehicle carrying banknotes was outside the bank when the explosion occurred.
'Dozens of policemen have rushed to the scene,' the Guangshan police officer said. 'To support fellow officers from the public security bureaus of Wuhan city and Hongshan district, almost all staff in my station have left for the scene.'
Witnesses said police had also deployed a helicopter to survey the scene of the blast.