BEIJING - High school students celebrating the end of exams were among 25
people killed in a thunderous explosion that destroyed a karaoke bar in
northeast China, local sources said.
A devastated residential
building and debris and are seen after an explosion in a two-storey
karaoke parlor in Benxi Autonomous County of Manchu Nationality, Northeast
China's Liaoning Province, July 5, 2007. [Xinhua]
33 others were injured, inclufing four reported to be in a serious
The blast occurred in a coal mining town of 40,000 people in Liaoning
province on Wednesday night, destroying the two-storey structure and damaging
Rescuers had finished clearing the debris and found 25 bodies. Among the dead
was the parlor owner surnamed Qu, said an official in charge of the emergency.
The explosion happened at 8:50 p.m. at Tianying Karaoke Parlor, a two-storey
roadside building where bath services were also operated, in Tianshifu Township,
Benxi Autonomous County of Manchu Nationality.
The powerful explosion caused the entire building to collapse, producing a
300 sq m heap of reinforcing steel and concrete and burying several motor
There was a temporary power cut in the township following the explosion.
Other buildings in the vicinity had damages to windows and roof tiles.
Workers have been repairing the adjacent high-voltage power lines destroyed
in the explosion in order restore power supplies, while some other workers have
been clearing away the debris.
Many of the victims were students letting loose after examinations, witnesses
"Some of the victims were teenagers around 18 to 19. Including one of my
friends. I'm very sad," a local high school girl told AFP by phone. She declined
to provide her name, saying she was too distraught.
A man who gave only his surname, Quan, and who went to the site after the
disaster also said students were among the victims of the blast at the privately
"There was a very loud noise and all the windows near the site were
shattered," Quan told AFP.
The blast also brought down nearby power lines, pitching the town into
darkness. Crews were still working on Thursday to restore full power.
The news agency said police were questioning the wife of the dead manager and
some of the venue's staff.
Local government officials have ordered that every effort be made to help the
victims and identify the cause of the accident.
An investigation is underway.