China oil pipe blast: Qingdao pipeline blast 'kills 44'
- 23 November 2013
- From the section China
At least 44 people in China have been killed in an explosion after a leaking oil pipeline caught fire in the city of Qingdao, state media has reported.
Xinhua quoted officials who said workers were trying to repair the pipeline at the time of Friday's blast.
Pictures of the scene showed shattered concrete slabs and black smoke rising. More than 100 firefighters were involved in putting out the fire.
The pipeline is owned by Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner.
The leak was spotted early on Friday, and the explosion happened several hours later, the Qingdao government said on its official microblog.
"We will investigate the incident with responsibility and give timely reports," Sinopec said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press news agency.
A man quoted by Xinhua said he had only seen something similar to the blast "in a disaster film".
The authorities have ruled out terrorism but say the incident remains under investigation.
Correspondents say that the blast ripped roads apart, turned cars over and sent thick black smoke billowing over the eastern coastal city.
Reports say that the number of dead could rise - at least 136 people were injured.
Because the scene of Friday morning's explosion was close to the coast, barriers were been erected to stop oil leaking into the sea, reports said.