he death toll of a massive explosion at a chemical factory in Jiangsu province on Thursday afternoon has been raised to 47 with 90 more seriously injured. At least 640 were sent to the hospital.
That’s up from the 6 dead and 30 injured figure that local authorities announced on Thursday evening. Since then, rescue teams have been working continually to find and save survivors. All major fires at the site have been extinguished.
The blast ripped through the factory, located inside of a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui county, at around 2:48 pm on Thursday. The exact cause of the explosion has not yet been determined, though it is reported to have followed a fire at the facility and to have involved the chemical compound benzene. The factory was engaged in producing fertilizer.
Homes nearby saw their windows shattered in the blast while China’s earthquake administration registered a 2.2-magnitude tremor in the area. The force of the explosion caused a number of nearby buildings to collapse, trapping workers inside.
Videos have gone viral on Chinese social media showing a huge plume of fire and smoke erupting from the ground.
China, of course, has a long history of horrific factory explosions, but the death toll here makes it one of the worst ones in recent memory. The incident calls to mind what happened on August 12th, 2015 in Tianjin when a massive chemical blast killed 173 people and left behind a colossal crater at ground zero.