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31 killed, seven injured as gas explosion rocks restaurant in China



31 killed, seven injured as gas explosion rocks restaurant in China

Thirty-one person have been reported dead while seven others sustained injuries after a gas explosion rocked a barbecue restaurant in the Chinese city of Yinchuan on Wednesday night.

According to state media, CCTV, the explosion was caused by a leak of a liquified gas tank inside the restaurant, and took place around 8:40 p.m.

It also added that one person, among those injured, is still in critical condition while others are being treated in the hospital for minor injuries, burns and glass cuts.

CCTV further reported that local fire authorities sent 20 vehicles and more than 100 personnel to the scene, with search and rescue operations lasting until 4 a.m. Thursday.

A statement posted online on Thursday by the Yinchuan Government stated that interviews by police and firefighters on the scene established that two restaurant staffers had smelled gas about an hour before the explosion.

Read also: China fines comedy company over $2m for denigrating its army

The two staffers found the valve of the gas tank had broken, and sent another staff member to buy  a new one, according to the statement. The explosion took place as the valve was being replaced.

The restaurant is located on a busy street, state media reported.

Reports further indicated that police have detained nine people and frozen their assets, including the restaurant’s manager, employees and shareholders.

Reacting to the incident, Chinese leader Xi Jinping described it as “heartbreaking,” and said it was a “profound lesson.” state broadcaster CCTV reported Thursday.

Xi added that it is imperative to treat the wounded and comfort the victims’ families, and to find out the cause of the accident as soon as possible. He also ordered relevant government authorities to carry out a safety risk review and strengthen safety supervision in key sectors.

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