Factory explosion in Foshan kills 17 as death toll in August’s Kunshan disaster climbs to 146

A series of massive explosions at a machinery factory in the southern city of Foshan this morning killed at least 17 workers and injured another 20, local Chinese media reported today.

The explosion occurred just hours after the Chinese government announced that the death toll in one of China’s worst ever industrial accidents, at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Plating last August, had now nearly doubled to 146.

The State Council confirmed late on 30 December that 75 people had died and 185 had been injured at the automotive wheel hub polishing plant on the day of the explosion, 2 August 2014. In the 30 days that followed the explosion, it said, the death toll rose to 97, with 163 injured. This according to China’s Work Accident Reporting and Investigation Regulations (生产安全事故报告和调查处理条例) became the official death toll. However, another 49 victims later died in hospital and 95 are still undergoing treatment in hospital and are said to be in a stable condition.

The State Council also stated that 18 people, including three senior company executives and local government officials would be prosecuted for their role in the disaster. Another 35 officials, including the deputy governor of Jiangsu, Shi Heping, Kunshan Party Secretary, Guan Aiguo, and Mayor Lu Jun, would be subject to Communist Party discipline, the notice said.

The Foshan explosion (See photo from Weibo above) occurred at 9.30.am on 31 December at Fuwa Machinery (富华机械厂) when large numbers of workers were inside. Witnesses reported three loud blasts which blew off the factory roof and smashed windows 100 metres away.

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