Huge explosion rips through a Chinese chemical factory near Wuhan, killing six people
- The blast occurred yesterday evening at a silicone factory in Hubei province
- State media footage shows thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky
- Another four people were hurt, but their condition was stable, officials said
- The local government has shut the company and launched an investigation
Six people have died after an explosion yesterday rocked a chemical factory near the city of Wuhan in central China, according to officials.
Footage released by state media shows thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky from the plant in Hubei province after the blast took place in the evening.
Four more people were hurt while an investigation was underway, authorities said.
Footage released by state media shows thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky and locals gathering outside the plant in Hubei province after the blast took place in the evening
The incident occurred at around 5:30pm in the factory of Lanhua Silicone Company in Xiantao
The incident occurred at around 5:30pm in the factory of Lanhua Silicone Company in the town of Xiliuhe in Xiantao, according to a government notice.
The city of Xiantao, with a population of 1.5million, is situated 109 kilometres (68 miles) south-west of the provincial capital Wuhan.
The explosion took place at a workshop used to store butanone oxime, which can be used as a silicone-curing agent, the Xiantao Party Committee Propaganda Department said in the social media statement.
Footage released by state broadcaster CCTV shows locals gathering around the factory when smoke engulfed the complex.
Some nearby residents saw their windows smashed by the force of the blast, reported Hubei Radio and Television Station.
The blast killed six people and wounded four. Some nearby residents saw their windows smashed by the force of the blast (right), reported Hubei Radio and Television Station
The city’s government sent 14 fire engines and more than 100 rescuers – including firefighters, paramedics and environmental officials – to the scene to search for survivors.
Among the six deaths, one was pronounced dead in hospital after resuscitation had failed while the other five were listed as missing.
Three out of the four wounded people were still hospitalised as of 7am today, the post said.
Officials have ordered the company to halt its production immediately. They have also demanded a citywide inspection into relevant firms to eliminate potential hazards.
The statement said ‘relevant’ authorities were carrying out a ‘thorough’ investigation into the explosion.
Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In March last year, a blast at a chemical plant in eastern Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured hundreds.
Four months later in July, a huge explosion left 15 dead at a gas plant in central China.
In November 2018, a truck carrying combustible chemicals exploded at the entrance of a chemical factory in Zhangjiakou, a northern Chinese city that will co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics, killing 23 people and injuring 22 others.
Among the worst accidents was a massive 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers. That blast was blamed on illegal construction and unsafe storage of volatile materials.