Apocalyptic scenes after chemical factory explosion kills 47 and injures 640
These dramatic photos show the devastating aftermath of a massive explosion and inferno that destroyed a chemical factory, killing 47 people.
More than 600 others were injured when the blast sent a huge fireball into the air and shattered windows several miles away.
There were apocalyptic scenes on Friday as crews went through burned-out buildings and charred rubble looking for more victims.
Smoke continued to pour from the industrial site, in China's eastern city of Yancheng, 24 hours after the explosion at the pesticide plant.
Residents were repairing homes and businesses that were damaged by the blast, which blew out windows in nearby towns and shook homes at least 25 miles away.
Chinese state media said 47 people were killed and 640 others, including children from a nearby kindergarten, were injured.
Distressing footage taken in the aftermath showed bodies on the floor around the blast site.
Video also showed bloodied children who were cut when they were sprayed by shards of glass from broken windows.
Thirty-two people were still fighting for their lives after the survivors of Thursday's explosion were rushed to 16 hospitals in Jiangsu province.
The blast sent a massive fireball and toxic mushroom cloud into the air above the plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company.
Chinese media said the blast was suspected to have triggered a 3.0 magnitude earthquake.
A man who lives in Wangshang, about a mile away from the industrial site, told Reuters: "There was one loud bang followed by a long rumble.
"All the windows were smashed. I went to have a look.
"Near the site there was blood everywhere. People were crushed."
A witness told Chinese media: "At the time of the explosion, it was almost like an earthquake.
"It was very loud."
A man who lives 18 miles from the blast site told a reporter that the explosion shook his windows.
The man said: "It was thought to be caused by wind."
A woman who lives about a mile from the explosion told the South China Morning Post that all her windows were shattered by the blast.
She said the local hospital was packed with injured people.
Another resident about 25 miles from the factory said she heard a loud boom and felt the explosion at her home.
Many buildings in the village had broken windows and structural damage.
Dozens of the plant's workers live in Wangshang, and many did not come home after the explosion.
The village was built in 2013 for people displaced by construction of the industrial park.
In the aftermath of the blast, the village was not evacuated and residents had not been advised to wear masks like the ones worn by police who were blocking roads to the site.
A massive cloud of black smoke drifted through the area as the inferno spread to neighbouring factories.
Jiangsu's environmental protection bureau said it found no abnormal concentrations of chemicals such as toluene, xylene or benzene.
Concentrations of acetone and chloroform outside the blast zone were also within normal limits, it said.
It took about 12 hours for fire crews to bring the inferno under control, state media said.
About 400 firefighters were involved in the response after local authorities declared an emergency.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
State media said President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy for a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to "earnestly maintain social stability".
Thursday's explosion is the latest in a series of industrial accidents that has caused outrage in China.
The president said authorities must increase efforts to determine the cause and prevent similar incidents.
He added: "There has recently been a series of major accidents, and all places and relevant departments must fully learn the lessons from these."
Jiangsu authorities vowed to carry out inspections on chemical producers and warehouses, and shut down any that are not in compliance with regulations on dangerous chemicals.
Tianjiayi Chemical Company, which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some highly flammable, has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily reported.
Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.
The accidents have ranged from mining disasters to factory fires,
In 2015, 165 people were killed in explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin, one of the world's busiest ports, which is not far from the capital, Beijing.
Those blasts were big enough to be seen by satellites and register on earthquake sensors.
Despite repeated government pledges to tighten safety, disasters have hit chemical plants in particular.
Twenty-three people were killed in November in a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical maker.
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