Two killed, dozens hurt in unexplained blast in Ningbo

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Rescue workers lift debris after the blast in Ningbo on Sunday morning. Photo: AFP

At least two people were killed and two others seriously injured in a powerful blast in Ningbo, a port city in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, local officials said on Sunday.

The explosion brought down buildings and injured dozens of people, state media reported, but police had yet to determine the cause. At least 30 people had been taken to hospital.

The city government said on an official social media account that the blast happened in a “vacant lot” in an industrial area.

The explosion happened at around 9am local time near a factory in Jiangbei district, Xinhua said. Ningbo is a coastal city about 100 kilometers south of Shanghai.

China Central Television (CCTV) said the force of the blast shattered windows of buildings up to a kilometer away.

CCTV aired images of flattened cars and a low-rise building with a collapsed wall. The state broadcaster said it was not a gas explosion, without elaborating further.

According to Zhejiang Daily, several buildings collapsed in a nearby residential area that had already been cleared of people. Police told Reuters the area had been marked for demolition.

Rescue work and investigation into the cause were underway, police said in a statement issued on its verified Weibo account.

Blasts and other accidents are common in China due to patchy enforcement of safety rules, although the government has pledged to improve checks to stamp out such incidents.

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