China: 19 dead, 172 injured in gas tanker explosion in Zhejiang province

Nineteen people died and 172 were injured when a gas tanker exploded on a highway in southeast China on Saturday, AP reported. The tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded on a highway exit in Wenling, a coastal city in Zhejiang province.

Images on social media showed huge clouds of black smoke billowing into the air as flames engulfed several cars and the area. The explosion also caused extensive damage to nearby buildings. A second explosion also followed after the damaged truck fell onto a factory workshop.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, state media said.

Zhu Minglian, deputy mayor of Wenling city, said over 2,600 rescue workers were deployed and efforts are underway to recover any survivors, BBC reported. Meanwhile, 189 people were being treated at six hospitals.

The company that owns the truck responsible for the accident has been penalised at least 11 times by authorities in the past over health and safety failures.

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