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Death toll climbs to 15 after China gas plant blast

Explosion leaves another 15 people seriously wounded

By AFP - Jul 21,2019 - Last updated at Jul 21,2019

A resident in a damaged apartment points towards the site of an explosion at the Henan Coal Gas Group factory in Yima city, in China's central Henan province, on Saturday (AFP photo)

BEIJING — The death toll from a huge explosion that rocked a gas plant in central China has risen to 15, state media said on Saturday. 

Friday's blast at the Henan Coal Gas Group factory left another 15 people seriously wounded and more with light injuries, said the state-run People's Daily.

The blast shattered windows and doors of buildings in a 3 kilometre radius.

It occurred in the air separation unit of Henan Coal's factory, state broadcaster CCTV said, with the official Xinhua news agency saying a device in the factory exploded at 5:45pm on Friday. 

All production at the plant has been stopped. More than 270 rescuers were on the scene, Xinhua said, citing the emergency management ministry.

"Many windows and doors within a 3 kilometre radius were shattered, and some interior doors were also blown out by the blast," CCTV said on its Twitter-like Weibo social media account.

Local media showed amateur videos of a massive column of black smoke billowing from the factory and debris littering the roads.

Other images showed the doors and windows of homes blown out and shuttered shops with dented metal fronts.

A bloodied man was seen being helped out of a van in a video posted on social media.

AFP could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

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