August 26, 2008

16 Dead, 6 Missing in Chinese Plant Blast

A massive chemical plant explosion in China Tuesday left at least 16 people dead, six missing and 57 injured, officials said.

While the ensuring fire was extinguished by Tuesday evening, firefighters in Yizhou City in Guangzi Zhuang Autonomous Region where the blast occurred said they had been hampered in rescuing plant workers by the flames and threat of toxic fumes, Xinhua reported. Smoke continued to rise from the site as firefighters sifted through the ruins looking for more victims.

No cause had been determined for the explosion at the Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Co. plant. It was unknown exactly how many people were at the work site when the incident occurred.

About 11,500 people living in the vicinity were evacuated from their homes, the state-run news agency said.

Xinhua said the plant, which has assets totaling $50 million, produces chemical products such as polyvinyl acetate, calcium carbide and vinyl acetate monomer.