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Rescuers at the scene of the blast in Haining city in eastern China. Photo: Weibo

Nine killed after waste water tank explodes at Chinese dye factory

  • Senior managers detained as authorities investigate cause of blast that also left a dozen workers injured at plant in eastern province of Zhejiang
  • Factory owners have previously been punished for breaching environmental regulations and failing to properly account for explosives and chemicals

Nine people were killed and a dozen more were injured after a waste water tank exploded at a factory in eastern China on Tuesday evening.

Four of the injured were in critical condition after shock waves caused by the blast damaged the plant and an adjacent one in an industrial park in Haining, a city in Zhejiang province, according to the local authorities.

Senior managers of the company, Longzhou Printing and Dyeing, have been detained by the police while an investigation into the cause of the accident is held.

The tank, about 3 metres wide and 15 metres tall (5ft by 50ft) and filled with waste water from dyeing, exploded soon after 5pm before collapsing, Zhejiang Television reported, quoting the city’s firefighting department.

Nine people died and dozen injured, four of whom were in a critical condition. Photo: Weibo

The broadcaster reported that waste water had flooded the area and contaminated a nearby river.

Residents living nearby said they heard a loud bang when the accident happened, and video footage shared online suggested that there had been a fire at the factory.

Electricity facilities in the neighbourhood have also been damaged, while windows at some nearby buildings were smashed.

According to public records from the provincial commercial and industrial authority, Longzhou has been punished multiple times for violating various regulations.

In August last year, it was penalised by the local police for failing to keep proper records about explosives and toxic chemicals used in the business.

In July last year and October the previous year, it was punished by the municipal environmental protection bureau for discharging excessive waste.

It has also faced tax problems and penalties for failing to maintain its vehicles properly.