China fireworks blast kills 13
Beijing - A massive
explosion ripped through a fireworks factory in northeast China early on Monday,
killing at least 13 workers, damaging nearby buildings and causing secondary
Up to 50 people were
working at the fireworks factory in the city of Yichun in Heilongjiang province
when it was rocked by the explosion, read a statement posted on the local
Xinhua News Agency reported
the death toll rose to 13 after fires were put out and rescuers were able to
safely enter the building.
A total of 148 people were
injured by the blast, which could be felt up to 5km away and smashed windows in
the local government offices and other buildings, the statement said.
The tally appeared to
include workers at the factory as well as people in the surrounding area, but
details were not given.
It wasn't known if all the
workers had been accounted for. Calls to the local government and police rang
unanswered on Monday.
Eyewitness' photos posted on
the internet showed plumes of smoke curled above the plant.
Safety is lax at Chinese
fireworks plants, and accidents are common.
Dozens of people also die
each year from unsafe handling of fireworks while celebrating weddings and
In another industrial
accident on Monday, an elevator plunged on a construction site, killing 11
workers riding in it.
Investigators were looking
into the cause of the elevator accident in the city of Meihekou in the north
eastern province of Jilin. The elevator dropped as many as 12 stories, said a
statement from the local government.
Although deadly accidents
persist, China has placed an increasing emphasis on improving industrial
Fatalities in the country's
notoriously dangerous coal mines decreased to 2631 last year, compared with a
peak of 6 995 deaths in 2002, according to official figures.
That works out to 7.2
deaths a day in 2009, down from 19.1 a day in 2002.