24 Nov 2013

Rise in pipeline explosion toll

8:43 am on 24 November 2013

The death toll from an oil pipeline explosion in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao has reportedly risen to 44.

The blast ripped roads apart, overturning cars and sending thick black smoke billowing over the city.

The previous toll, published on Friday evening, was 35 dead and 166 injured.

The pipeline, run by Sinopec, a state-owned oil company, sprang a leak on Friday morning and exploded several hours later while it was being repaired, the Qingdao municipal government said.

The ABC reported Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu apologised on state television.

"We are deeply grieved, we express our deep condolences for the dead, our support to their families and our apologies to the whole country," he said.

"We'll find out the accident's causes as soon as possible and give a reasonable explanation to everyone."