Gas pipeline blast kills 9 in Sichuan Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nine people were killed and nearly 40 more injured in a gas pipeline explosion on Friday afternoon in Renshou County, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

A total of 1,837 residents in the vicinity were evacuated after the explosion and have been properly accommodated, sources from Sichuan Provincial Work Safety Bureau said.

According to the same sources, the outward and inward gas pipelines with Fujia Gas Station of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch exploded around 12:17 hours on Friday, producing a big hole in the ground.

Eight people were killed on the spot, and one more died in the local hospital, four others were seriously injured. Most of the killed were workers with the gas station and their family members.

The explosion also destroyed buildings in the vicinity and slightly injured more than 30 more people. All the injured, mostly suffering from burns, are hospitalized.

A spokesman with CNPC Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch said the exploded pipelines were laid down 1970s and had been operating normally before the accident.

The explosion also led to a suspended gas supply for daily use in Renshou, and Ziyang, Jianyang, all in Sichuan Province. CNPC Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch has organized manpower to repair the pipelines and it is expected that gas supply will resume by Saturday noon.

Specialists from the General Administration of Work Safety (GAWS) and CNPC have arrived at the site of the explosion. A special group has been set up to investigate into the cause of the explosion.

Editor: Chen Feng
Source: Xinhua