|Photo taken on July 28, 2010 shows the damaged buses and buildings near the explosion site in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. A powerful explosion occurred at an abandoned plastics factory in Nanjing on Wednesday morning, causing five people dead and 28 others seriously injured. (Xinhua/Sun Can)
by Xinhua writers Wang Junyong, Zhu Xudong, Yang Dingdu
NANJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A powerful explosion at a factory in eastern China's Nanjing City Wednesday has left at least 10 people dead and hundreds injured, including 14 critically, the city government said.
Officials of the government of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, told a press conference Wednesday evening that 10 people were killed and 14 others suffered serious injuries after the blast at 10:11 a.m. ripped through an abandoned plastics factory in northern Nanjing's Xixia District.
Further, more than 120 people have been hospitalized, according to the official.
The death toll, which is based on the number of bodies so far recovered, could climb as rescuers are still clearing the explosion site and some injured people are reported to be in very critical condition.
The blast was caused by a gas leak after a propylene pipeline was damaged as workers dismantled factory buildings of the Nanjing No. 4 Plastics Factory, said a statement from the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).
The rescue headquarters say an excavator owned by Yangzhou Hongyuan Construction and Development Co., Ltd. hit a a pipe of 159 mm in diameter.
The gas leak started at 9:56 a.m. and explosion occurred at 10:11 a.m.Gas supply was cut off a minute later, said Liu Zhaohua, deputy head of Nanjin's work safety bureau.
The excavator operator, whose identity was not revealed, has been held by police for investigation.
The explosion occurred when a motorist started a car engine at the scene, igniting the leaking gas, the SAWS statement said, without saying if the motorist was among the victims.
Some rescuers and repairmen who had come to handle the gas leak may have died in the explosion, the headquarters said.