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Gas Pipe Explosion Kills at Least 13 in Nanjing, China

2010-07-30 09:58 AM EST Last Updated: 2010-07-31 01:31 PM EST


A chemical pipeline explosion ripped through Nanjing City in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province on Wednesday.

State-run Xinhua news reports, workers demolishing buildings at the Nanjing No. 4 Plastic Factory damaged a gas pipe. Then leaking gas was ignited apparently when someone nearby started their car engine.

Nanjing authorities announced on Thursday that 13 people died from the blast, 120 more were injured.

But a local resident, who did not wish to disclose her name, says official numbers cannot be verified.

[Anonymous, Local Resident]:

“There are deaths announced. I think it’s more than what they say because they’re likely to hide the real death toll. They don’t want the actual figure to be exposed. The site has been taped off. You can’t go there and see.”

Another resident says there are many more injured than reported.

[Mr. Yang, Local Resident]:

“The blast happened at around 10 a.m., more than 300 were injured, 52 of them seriously.”

Local hospital workers refuse to give out information on the death toll.

[Hospital Staff, Nanjing Maigaoqiao Hospital]:

“We can’t give you the figures. Everything here is released uniformly by the government.”

And on the day of the blast, authorities seemed uneasy about letting information out. A live broadcast of a local TV station was forced to be cut off, when a local official was caught on camera.

[Jiangsu Official, Scene of Gas Explosion]:

“Give me your phone, who gave you permission to do a live broadcast?”

According to the Southern Weekly, the region of Wednesday’s blast is home to several chemical plants, and underground pipes. It’s also a densely populated area. For years, locals have been complaining to authorities about safety concerns in the region.

Just two months ago, a propylene gas leak in the same district prompted over 1000 people to evacuate.


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