31 killed in a restaurant explosion in northwest China
The blast comes on the eve of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday when many in China go out and socialize with friends.
A gas leak sparked an explosion that tore through a restaurant in the northwest Chinese city of Yinchuan, killing at least 31 people, as per state media.
The blast took place on the eve of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday when many in China go out and socialize with friends.
More than a dozen firemen could be seen working at the scene in CCTV footage as smoke streamed out of a big hole in the restaurant's exterior.
The dimly illuminated street, which is also home to a number of other restaurants and entertainment establishments, was covered with glass shards and other debris.
Following the explosion, police detained nine individuals, including the restaurant's "owner, shareholders, and staff," according to CCTV, which also stated that "their assets have been frozen."
"A leak of liquefied petroleum gas... caused an explosion during the operation of a barbecue restaurant," state news agency Xinhua said of the Wednesday evening blast, citing the regional Communist Party committee.
Seven additional patients were being treated, with one being in a "critical condition", as per the agency.
According to Xinhua, two more people had serious burns, two sustained minor wounds, and two experienced scrapes from flying glass.
High school students and pensioners were among the dead, and according to state-backed media site The Paper, which cited unnamed authorities participating in the rescue operation, many of whom suffocated to death after inhaling smoke.
President calls for all-out efforts
Simultaneously, Chinese President Xi Jinping "demanded all-out efforts in treating the wounded and the strengthening of safety supervision and management in key industries and fields to effectively protect people's lives and property," Xinhua reported on Thursday.
Xi "urged efforts to ascertain the cause of the accident as soon as possible and hold the relevant people accountable in accordance with the law," the agency said.
"All regions and related departments should screen for and rectify all types of risks and hidden dangers," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
Following the explosion, the local fire and rescue services sent more than 100 personnel and 20 vehicles to the location, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
According to the Ministry, local officials "immediately... demanded that full-scale search and rescue efforts be organized, the injured be properly treated, and casualties be reduced as much as possible."
The rescue efforts had concluded by 4:00 am Thursday, it said.
In one social media video, two shirtless males were shown kneeling and standing in a trance on a busy street covered in shattered glass, their trousers torn and their bodies coated in dust.
BREAKING: Gas explosion rips through restaurant in northern China, killing at least 31 people pic.twitter.com/X8lBqh5qCE— BNO News (@BNONews) June 22, 2023
In another video, ambulances and fire trucks could be seen speeding through the neighboring streets while beeping their sirens and flashing blue and red lights.
Not an isolated incident
This month, a series of explosions brought on by fireworks damaged residential structures in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.
At least 17 people died in a fire at a restaurant in the northeastern city of Changchun in September last year, as per statements given at the time by local authorities.
In the city of Chongqing, an explosion caused by a gas leak knocked down a building in January 2022, killing over a dozen people.
In addition, 25 people perished in a gas explosion that struck a bustling two-story building crowded with shoppers as well as a residential complex in Shiyan, Hubei province, in June 2021.