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Explosion at Chinese restaurant, 31 people died

BEIJING –

A large gas explosion at a barbecue restaurant in northwest China has killed 31 people and injured seven, Chinese authorities said on Thursday.

The explosion tore through the facility around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday on a busy street in Yinchuan, capital of the traditional Ningxia Hui Muslim Autonomous Region, when people were gathering on the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, Xinhua official said.

The festival is a national holiday devoted to eating rice dumplings and racing boats driven by rowing teams.

Online news site The Paper quoted a woman surnamed Chen as saying she was about 50 meters (164 feet) away from the restaurant when she heard the explosion. She described seeing two waiters walk out of the restaurant later, one of them immediately collapsing, while thick smoke rose from the restaurant and a strong smell of cooking gas enveloped the area. area.

The Central Government’s Ministry of Emergency Management said on its social media account that search and rescue work at the restaurant was completed early Thursday morning and investigators had been sent in to determine the cause. cause the explosion.

Industrial accidents of this kind are common in China, often due to poor government oversight, corruption, employer cost-cutting measures and little safety training for workers. labor.

At least nine people were killed in an explosion at a Chinese petrochemical plant and three others were killed in a helicopter crash during the country’s May International holiday.

In February, 53 miners were killed in the collapse of a large open-pit coal mine in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, leading to multiple arrests and four detentions in a fire at a public trading company. industrial activity in central China in November resulted in many deaths. 38 people.

The central government has pledged stronger safety measures since a 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and policemen. . In that case, several local officials were accused of taking bribes to bypass safety violations.



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