A huge explosion ripped through a gas plant in central China today, shattering windows and doors of buildings in a three-kilometre (1.9-mile) radius, state media reported.
Two people have been killed and another 12 are missing following the blast in Sanmenxia city in Henan province. Another 18 people were seriously injured, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The explosion rocked the Yima gasification plant at 5:50pm local time (0950 GMT). Shocking video footage shows a massive giant mushroom cloud billowing above the city following the blast which happened in the air separation unit.
‘Many windows and doors within a three-kilometre radius were shattered, and some interior doors were also blown out by the blast,’ CCTV said on its Twitter-like Weibo social media account.
Other clips filmed by witnesses show broken glass windows and damaged doors, as well as injured workers arriving at Yima People’s Hospital for treatment.
In an update, CCTV said that the explosion happened in the air separation unit of the factory owned by Henan Gas Company.
Two people remained missing as emergency crews worked on the site. The blast did not involve major hazardous source tanks, CCTV added.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In March, an explosion at a chemical plant in eastern Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured hundreds.
The powerful explosion in the eastern city of Yancheng toppled several buildings in the industrial park, blew out windows of nearby homes and even dented metal garage doors.
Authorities detained two dozen people in connection with the March 21 blast, which prompted the government to order a nationwide inspection of chemical firms.
A week after that explosion, seven died after an explosion at an electronics component manufacturer in the same province.
In November, a gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou, which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, killed 24 people and injured 21 others.
Leaked chloroethylene came in contact with a fire source causing the explosion, authorities said in a February report, which also claimed the Chinese chemical firm responsible for the accident had concealed information and misled investigators.
In 2015, China suffered one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.