69 deaths at U.S. wheels factory in China image

An explosion in China killed 69 people on Saturday and more than a 120 were injured at a factory that produces wheels for U.S. carmakers.

The blast took place at 7:30 a.m. in Kunshan city, situated at an hour drive from Shanghai, after an explosion destroyed a workshop that polishes wheel hubs. The local government described the incident as a serious safety breach, while a preliminary investigation implied the blast at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co Ltd. happened when a flame was lit in a dust-filled room. Two company representatives have already been taken into police custody.

A senior unnamed doctor said on the Weibo micro blog account of China’s CCTV that ”In my 20 years of work, I’ve never seen so many patients with burns on over 80% of their bodies”, adding that the final death toll could be very high.

Kunshan Zhongrong could not be reached for comments. The company is owned by an unidentified foreign investor, has 450 workers and lists General Motors and other U.S. companies as its clients. The Kunshan government stated that 264 workers were at the site when the explosion happened and that 44 died immediately. Officials stated that the total number of injured people was of 187.
Only a year ago a fire in June at a poultry slaughterhouse in Jilin ended with 120 people being killed. The blaze was blamed on poor management, a lack of government oversight and locked or blocked exits.

By Gabriela Florea