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Explosion at chemical plant in central China kills 5, rescue efforts ongoing

Explosion at chemical plant in central China kills 5, rescue efforts ongoing
Five people were killed and one injured at an explosion in Tianmen City in the Chinese province of Hubei on Monday, after an equipment test went wrong at a local chemical plant.

The incident took place around 2.15pm on Monday at a plant inside the Yuekou Industrial Park in the city, west of the provincial capital Wuhan, Hubei’s emergency management department said. Search-and-rescue efforts are reportedly still ongoing at the site, and one person has been taken to hospital with injuries.

The explosion happened as equipment was being tested at a factory owned by the Tianmen Chutian Fine Chemical Company, which develops and produces pharmaceutical intermediates that are used in manufacturing drugs, the notice said.

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The Beijing News quoted a witness saying that yellow smoke emitted from the plant may indicate a leak of nitric acid.

Another outlet, Chongqing-based Upstream News, said the chemical company had previously been reported by local residents for releasing gases that caused irritation.

In August, another explosion at a chemical company in Xiantao City in the same province killed six people and injured four. That blast was caused by the operators’ irregular behavior and lack of risk identification, local authorities claimed at the time.

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