China’s Xi orders rescue effort after factory blast kills 47

Xi issued an order after the blast claimed the lives of 47 people. (AFP pic)

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered local authorities to conduct an all-out rescue for survivors after an explosion ripped through a chemical plant in the eastern province of Jiangsu, killing at least 47 people, state media said.

The blast Thursday at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co., in Chenjiagang, was the latest reminder of continued industrial risks in China, which has seen several large factory explosions in recent years. The latest incident left 90 seriously injured and affected 16 surrounding companies, according to China Central Television.

A cause has yet to be determined and local authorities were working to prevent chemical leaks, according to the state broadcaster. More than 600 had suffered at least minor injuries, the Yancheng city government said.

Police have taken people into custody over the incident, according to the statement, which didn’t offer further details on the detentions.

China has been seeking to tighten safety after industrial accidents that included a massive explosion in 2015 at a chemical warehouse in China’s northern port city of Tianjin, which killed 173 people. A blast at an auto parts plant in Suzhou in 2014 killed 146 people.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, set up an investigation team Friday to determine a cause of the Jiangsu explosion, CCTV said.