Two dead in blast at Chinese megaport city Ningbo

Sunday November 26 2017

Ningbo explosion

Rescue workers search at the site of an explosion in Ningbo, China's eastern Zhejiang province on November 26, 2017. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
More by this Author

SHANGHAI

A major explosion hit China's megaport city of Ningbo on Sunday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens and destroying buildings and cars, state media and local authorities said.

The Ningbo government said on a social media account that the blast occurred in a "vacant lot" but it did not provide details about what may have caused it.

Local authorities said two people died, two were seriously injured and an unidentified number were being treated for injuries in the major port city.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
The Xinhua news agency said earlier that the explosion had taken place in a factory at around 9:00am while CCTV television said some 30 people were hospitalised.

Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety standards are often lax.

Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the force of the explosion, a plume of grey smoke rising in the sky, and debris scattered for dozens of metres around the site of the incident.

RESCUE
Footage showed rescuers wearing helmets carrying injured people away from the area, while others stood over a person lying on the ground.

Pieces of concrete, wood and glass were strewn across a large area.

Metal gates were twisted open and windows blown out.

According to CCTV, eyewitnesses said there were "a large number of injured people" in the city, one of China's largest ports, which sits just south of Shanghai.

SHIPPING PORTS
The Communist Party's People's Daily said on Twitter that no one lived at site of the explosion but garbage collectors might have been working there.

An enquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the explosion, the local police in Jiangbei district, where the blast happened, said on social media.

Ningbo is one of the country's major international cargo and container shipping ports.

China has been rocked by several industrial accidents in recent years.

TIANJIN
In 2015, giant blasts killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin, causing over $1 billion in damage and sparking widespread anger over a perceived lack of transparency by officials about the accident's causes and environmental impact.

A government inquiry into the Tianjin accident released in February 2016 recommended 123 people be punished.

The official who was mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft in September.

Huang Xingguo, 62, had also headed the disaster response committee.