|Photo taken with a mobile phone shows the site of a pipeline explosion in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Nov. 22, 2013. A fire broke out and the blast occurred around 10 a.m. in the Huangdao District when workers were repairing a petroleum pipeline which broke and resulted in an oil leakage around 3 a.m.(Xinhua)
In pictures: Pipeline blast in E China
In pictures: site of pipeline blast in Qingdao
QINGDAO, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 35 people were killed and 166 others injured after a leaking pipeline caught fire and exploded on Friday morning in the coastal city of Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province, local authorities said.
Among the 166 injured, 65 are in serious conditions, according to a comment posted on Friday night on the official microblog of the Qingdao municipal health bureau on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging service.
The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. at the crossing between Haihe Road and Zhaitangdao Road in Huangdao District as workers were repairing a petroleum pipeline, according to the Qingdao government's publicity office. The pipeline had begun leaking oil at around 3 a.m. at the crossing between Qinghuangdao Road and Zhaitangdao Road, the office said.
Oil leaked from the Sinopec pipeline into the municipal pipe network, which caused the explosion, according to an initial investigation by the rescue headquarters at the scene.
The district government has ruled out a terror attack as the cause, while the State Administration of Work Safety has sent a work team to the scene to guide the rescue efforts.
About 1,000 square meters of road surface was covered in leaked oil at Zhaitangdao Road. Some of the oil had spilled into Jiaozhou Bay through the rainwater pipeline, and about 3,000 square meters of sea water was polluted by oil, said the rescue headquarters.
Fires and explosions also occurred on the polluted sea waters at the entrance to the bay, according to the headquarters.
An oil belt with a width of two to three meters could be seen in waters around the site of the explosion as of 2:40 p.m. No new oil leakage from the pipeline had been found, according to a Xinhua reporter at the scene.
Oil flow through the pipeline was shut off at about 3:15 a.m. The fire has been put out, and barricades have been set up to stop the oil from entering the sea, according to a comment posted on Friday afternoon on the official microblog of the Qingdao municipal environmental protection bureau on Sina Weibo.
Environmental monitoring showed that the concentration of toxic materials in the air was below the national standard. The local government has told citizens to remain calm.