YIZHOU, Guangxi, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Twenty people
were confirmed dead from Tuesday's explosion at a chemical plant in south
China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, rescue headquarters said on Wednesday.
At 4:30 p.m., rescuers found the last two bodies of
the 20 listed missing after the explosion. All were plant employees in Yizhou
Staffers and local officials check the
remains of buildings near the explosion site at a chemical plant owned by
the Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Co. in Yizhou, southwest China's Guangxi
Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Aug. 27, 2008. (Xinhua/Zhou
Around 470 special rescue personnel left the scene
after the rescue operation ended. All the 11,000 evacuated company staff and
nearby villagers returned to their homes on Wednesday afternoon.
The initial explosion ripped through an organic
compound workshop inside the plant, owned by Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Co., at 6
a.m. on Tuesday. The cause of the explosion still hasn't been determined.
The blast caused additional explosions in containers
of flammable substances such as formaldehyde and acetylene.
A tally compiled as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday showed
that 60 people were injured and hospitalized, with 10 discharged so far. Five of
these people were residents of a nearby village or motor vehicles riders who
were passing the factory. The injured mostly suffered burns and fractures.
The explosions persisted until almost 1 p.m. on
Tuesday. The fire at one point covered 10,000 sq m, said a firefighter who took
part in the rescue operation. The blaze was put out on Tuesday evening.
Rescuers are ready to enter the
explosion site again at a chemical plant owned by the Guangxi Guangwei
Chemical Co. in Yizhou, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region, on Aug. 27, 2008. (Xinhua/Zhou Hua)
The regional Department of Environmental Protection
said that samples taken after the explosion showed no contamination.
More than 100 chemical emergency specialists were
sent to the site to assess the situation, and regional work safety authorities
began an investigation.
The plant mainly produces polyvinyl acetate (PVA),
which is used in adhesives, calcium carbide, and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM),
which is used in paints, adhesives and coatings.
With assets of 340 million yuan (50 million U.S.
dollars), the plant manufactures products worth about 300 million yuan a year,
and its largest shareholders are state-owned companies.
Smoke rises as rescue operation goes on
at the exploded chemical plant on the outskirts of Yizhou City, southwest
China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Aug. 26, 2008. (Xinhua