CHINA / National

Chemical plant blast kills 16 in Anhui
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-19 05:24

A total of 16 people were killed in a chemical plant blast in East China's Anhui Province on Friday.

Local firefighters clear the site on June 17, 2006, after a Friday blast occured in the chemical plant in east China's Anhui Province. The two-story workshop complex has been razed to the ground. [sina]

Ten bodies were identified as workers, but the other six were burnt beyond recognition.

The explosion at the Dun'an chemical plant in Dangtu County also injured 24 workers, who are now receiving treatment in local hospitals.

Three of the injured workers are still in critical condition, the Anhui Daily reported.

According to an initial investigation, the blast occurred on Friday afternoon at a workshop during powder mixing. The plant produces explosives for mining.

The Dun'an chemical plant, owned by a corporation from East China's Zhejiang Province, has a production capacity of over 20,000 tons of explosives each year.

It is thought that there were at least 4 tons of explosives in the workshop when the explosion happened.

Clean-up work at the site has been completed, but the workshop was razed to the ground.

Rescuers said that their work was difficult because there were combustible materials in the plant that might have caused further blasts.

Vice-governor of Anhui Province Huang Haisong headed a team to supervise rescue work at the scene.

Officials with the State Administration of Work Safety and the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defence also rushed to the site for investigation.

Local governments are now dealing with compensating the injured and family members of the dead.

Experts with the Anhui Provincial Public Security Department said they were working to identify the remaining dead.

The Anhui provincial government convened an urgent telephone conference Friday evening, urging local companies to conduct a work safety check immediately.

Since the beginning of May, a series of safety accidents have killed 37 people in the province, including the 16 on Friday.

The first accident occurred on May 13 in Anqing, when three miners were killed in an accident in an unlicensed coal mine.

Embarrassingly, May 13 is designated as "Safe Production Day" in the province, following a coal mine explosion in 2003 that killed 86 people.

Five days later, three workers were killed at a stone workshop in Huainan following a blast.

On May 27, a landslide at a quarry in Wuwei County killed six.

(China Daily 06/19/2006 page2)