Death toll from Qingdao pipeline explosion rises to 62

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 1:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 3:04pm

The body of the last missing person from the oil pipeline blast in Qingdao has been found, bringing the death toll to 62, according to rescue headquarters.

Police originally reported 55 people dead and nine missing, but DNA testing confirmed that two dead victims were mistakenly counted as missing persons.

As of Tuesday, 136 were hospitalised and 14 had been discharged earlier.

The accident occurred on November 22 when an underground oil pipeline owned by Sinopec ruptured, causing a spill and triggering an explosion during the emergency repair.

The State Administration of Work Safety cited an unreasonable oil pipeline layout, negligence of pipeline supervision and unprofessional handling of pipeline leakage as reasons for the blast. President Xi Jinping has since visited the family of victims and urged greater attention to safety at industrial sites.

Seven Sinopec executives have been detained by police but authorities are yet to announce the cause of the incident, according to previous Chinese media reports.

The coastal city of Qingdao is one of China’s biggest crude oil ports, supplying a major refinery and petrochemical complex owned by oil giant Sinopec. Sinopec apologised last Saturday for the explosions.

According to the State Administration of Work Safety, more than 27,700 people were killed or went missing in workplace accidents in the first half of this year. In June, a fire at PetroChina’s Dalian oil complex killed two people.

Video: Qingdao pipeline leak explosion

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse