Five killed in China plant blast

A massive blast ripped through an explosives factory in eastern China today, killing five people and leaving another 20 missing, according to state media.

Rescue work was continuing at the site of the mid-morning explosion in Shandong province’s Caofan township, the Xinhua News Agency said.

The company website said the factory run by the Baoli group manufactures 10,000 tons of industrial explosives annually.

A total of 34 people were inside the factory at the time of the blast, and only 14 of them have been found so far, including those that died, Xinhua reported.

The cause of the blast and condition of the nine survivors were not known.

A government spokesman for the surrounding city of Zhangqiu said a full accounting of the dead and injured was being compiled and would be released. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, he would only give his surname, Cao.

China has sought to tighten access to explosives used for quarrying following a series of attacks by people using homemade bombs.

But safety rules are often ignored and industrial accidents remain common.

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