Firecracker blast kills 9 in China

Updated: 2010-12-18 07:18
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NINGXIANG, Hunan - The death toll from a fireworks explosion in central China's Hunan province Friday has risen to nine after another body was found Saturday.

The total number of injured had also risen from four to nine as the search of ruined and damaged buildings near the blast site continued, said an official of the Changsha city government.

All the injured were being treated in hospital.

The blast occurred in Ningxiang County, in Changsha, the provincial capital, at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when a truck loaded with fireworks fuses hit a power pole and sparks from fallen cables ignited the fuses.

The blast destroyed the truck and nearby houses, and shattered windows and cracked walls hundreds of meters away.

Residents said the blast sounded like thunder and sent a column of smoke high into the air. Rubble was blasted into nearby fields.

A fireworks plant was located near the site and the truck was loaded with 600 boxes, each holding 24 kg, of fireworks fuses, said resident Li Dehui.

Rescuers and police from Changsha municipal and Ningxiang county governments are still at the scene and searchers are using sniffer dogs to help locate more possible casualties.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.