Death toll from China chemical plant blast hits 25

AFP News

The death toll from an explosion at a chemical plant in north China last week has risen to 25, state media said Sunday of the latest industrial accident to strike the country.

Another 46 people were injured in the blast last Tuesday near Shijiazhuang city, capital of Hebei province, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Administration of Work Safety.

Authorities said previously at least 17 people had been killed, with dozens more missing.

The impact of the explosion was felt in at least three nearby villages, Xinhua has said.

Photographs posted on the Internet purportedly of the blast site showed a large crater surrounded by debris. The walls of several work shops that surrounded the site had been destroyed.

Safety standards are regularly flouted in China, and workplace accidents remain common despite repeated pledges by the government to improve regulations and oversight.

Nearly 50,000 people died in work-related accidents in the first nine months of 2011, the administration said earlier.