An illegal stash of mine explosives was probably to blame for a nightclub
blast that killed at least 25 people and levelled a neighbourhood in northeast
China, media reports said on Friday.
The explosion ripped through the club in Benxi county in Liaoning province,
killing at least 25, including eight young women celebrating a birthday, and
injuring 41, four seriously.
"The explosion was so powerful that there must have been about one tonne of
explosives," the Beijing News quoted an investigator as saying.
The owner of the club, who was killed in the blast, had stowed the explosives
in a vault beneath the club in the township of Tianshifu, which has 300-400
licensed or unlicensed small coal mines, the newspaper quoted local residents as
"The boss of the club was quite rich and ran a coal mine as well," a local
resident surnamed Liu told the newspaper.
The explosion appeared to be the latest instance of lax safety in densely
populated mining areas that has brought mayhem in the past.
In 2005, a cache of mining explosives in the home of a mine manager blew up
and killed 20, including children at a nearby school in Shanxi province in the
In 2006, explosives kept in a hospital by a coal mine owner exploded and
killed 35 people in Shanxi, where a quarter of China's coal is produced.
The explosives behind the latest disaster were TNT made by a nearby factory
and police also found detonators at the site, the Beijing News said. Police have
placed the widow of the club owner and surviving club staff "under control", the
Pictures showed the two-storey building was completely levelled and several
cars were buried under the concrete debris.
The blast turned the area around the club to rubble and damaged 462 homes,
including 78 so badly that residents could not stay in them, the official Xinhua
news agency reported, citing local officials.
The entertainment club comprised a bathhouse and a karaoke bar, where 13
young girls from a local department store were attending a birthday party at the
time of the blast, the Beijing News said. Eight of them died, it said.
A local official reached by telephone told Reuters that police were still
investigating the cause of the blast.