Gas tanker explosion kills 19 people, injures almost 200

A tanker truck has exploded in southeast China, killing 19 people and injuring a further 172, according to state-run media outlet, People’s Daily.

The truck carrying liquefied gas exploded around 4:45 p.m. on the Shenyang-Haikou Expressway south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing local authorities.

The blast sent flames and a cloud of smoke high into the sky, state-media pictures showed.

The explosion caused extensive damage to nearby buildings. One photo showed firefighters hosing down a row of buildings with blown-out facades well into the night.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, firefighters work at the site of buildings damaged after a tanker truck explosion on a highway in Wenling. Source: AP

A second explosion followed when the truck fell onto a factory workshop, Xinhua News Agency said, citing local authorities.

The Wenling city government information office said on its social media account that houses and workshops collapsed and nearly 200 people were treated at six hospitals.

A worker at a nearby restaurant told Xinhua that the blast shattered the windows of her home, but that her mother and brother were unharmed, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Global Times, more than 2600 rescue workers and 150 vehicles were deployed to the site for the rescue operation.

While the vehicle was found, the driver and a passenger are still missing, the Global Times reported.

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

With Reuters and Associated Press

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