21 Nov 2011

Fatal explosion at chemical plant

10:27 am on 21 November 2011

An explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China has killed 14 employees.

It happened at a melamine production unit in Xintai in Shandong province where a condenser was being maintained and repaired. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the explosion happened on Saturday afternoon.

The plant belongs to Shandong Liaherd Chemical Industry Co Ltd, according to a statement issued by the Xintai city government.

Four workers were killed outright and 10 more died in hospital. Another five injured were in a stable condition.

An investigation is underway into the cause.

Melamine is a nitrogen-rich chemical used to make plastics and other products. However, Xinhua said no poisonous or harmful substances were released by the explosion.