Huge blast at quarry in Guangdong kills at least nine

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 October, 2012, 9:29am

A massive explosion at a quarry site in Guangdong yesterday killed at least nine people and shook buildings several kilometres away.

At least one person was still missing from blast, which occurred around 2.30pm in Wangbu township, Yingde , Xinhua reported.

Officials in the city, 110 kilometres north of Guangzhou, said in a statement that a truckload of mining explosives detonated when workers were unloading the last of three trucks carrying 13 tonnes of explosives to the quarry. About six tonnes had been unloaded when the accident happened.

Xinhua cited the city government as saying the quarry belonged to a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Anhui Conch Cement, but an executive director of Conch was quoted by Bloomberg as saying the companies were not related. Among those killed were employees at the quarry and workers employed by a local explosives company to transport the explosives.

Residents in Yinghong township, opposite the site across the Bei River, said shockwaves from the blast shattered glass on most buildings, and some walls also showed cracks.

A staff member at the Yingde People's Hospital, about 18 kilometres from Wangbu, said: "Many people were sent to the hospital after the blast."

She declined to give her full name or say how many people were injured, saying only that local authorities were still confirming the number of people killed and injured.

She said the blast was so loud it ruptured some people's eardrums.

"It was such a large shock that we [at the hospital] thought it was a strong earthquake," she said. "We could hear the sound and feel the shaking, even though we're not near the site of the explosion."