Multiple Deaths Confirmed After Explosion Rocks Rural Shaanxi
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2016-10-24 08:35:11

Fourteen people have died after an explosion occurred in Fugu County, in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province, at about 2 p.m. on Monday. The blast injured 147 people, state news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday morning.

Videos and photos shared online showed damaged cars, buildings with windows blown out, and debris scattered throughout a large area. But posts related to the explosion on microblog platform Weibo were soon deleted. Searches for the incident on Tuesday returned a message saying results cannot be shown.

Police suspect the blast was caused by explosives stored in a prefabricated building. The explosion damaged dozens of cars and buildings in the area. Photos showed a hospital near the site of the explosion that appeared to be heavily damaged, with many of its windows blown out and its outer walls defaced.

An eyewitness who posted photos of the aftermath on their Weibo microblog told Sixth Tone by telephone that the hospital and a nearby kindergarten suffered the most damaged in the explosion.

He said that the area is home to a large mining industry, and that improperly or illegally stored explosives are a problem the local authorities have been trying to combat. Government statistics show that there are 21 mining companies in the town.

This article has been updated to reflect new developments.

Additional reporting by Wang Lianzhang.

(Header image: People walking through the explosion site in Fugu County, Shaanxi province, Oct. 24, 2016. Yujianyulin/IC)