13 killed in explosion at agrochemical factory

At least 13 people were killed and 43 others injured in an explosion in an agrochemical factory in northern China. The accident occurred this morning in County Zhao near the city of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, said the state agency responsible for safety at work. The death toll remained provisional, while the cause of explosion was unspecified.

“Rescue operations are conducted immediately,” said the administration on its website. The first pictures of the disaster showed a site devastated and littered with debris around a large crater. The very loud bang shook the floor of three neighboring villages.

Accidents in factories in China are common, often due to lack of compliance with safety standards. Occupational accidents have claimed nearly 50,000 lives in China during the first nine months of 2011, according to official statistics that may be underestimated. Thirteen people were killed last week by an explosion at a steel plant in the northeast of China.