The death toll from a massive pipeline blast in Shandong Province on Friday has risen to 52 as of 1 p.m. on Sunday, while 11 people are still missing. In the wake of the tragedy, Xi Jinping over the weekend traveled to Qingdao City to visit victims of the blast and express condolences to family members who lost loved ones.
52 people have now been confirmed as dead in the aftermath of an explosion caused by a leaking pipeline in Qingdao, when rescuers on Sunday found four more bodies at the scene of the blast, Xinhua reports.
Among the dead, four have not yet been identified, according to the rescue headquarters for the blast accident, which occurred at Huangdao district in Qingdao City.
Six of the dead were professional firefighters with the Huangdao oil warehouse of Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner. Ten of the 136 hospitalized are in critical condition.
Rescuers are continuing to search for bodies buried under concrete and rubble, as 11 people are still unaccounted for after the explosion.
Over the weekend, Xi Jinping traveled to the University Hospital of Qingdao’s Huangdao Branch to personally speak to victims of Friday’s tragedy.
China’s president is photographed shaking the hands of an 87-year-old woman, the oldest person to be wounded in the blasts, as he reportedly asked her about her injuries and told medical staff to give special treatment and care to the elderly.
Xi also visited relatives of victims and expressed his deep condolences to them.
During his visit to Qingdao City, Xi held a meeting at the State Department so that he could be briefed about the Sinopec oil pipeline leak and investigations surrounding the blast.
According to Xinhua, Xi called for more thorough safety inspections of pipelines around the city so that potential dangers could be eliminated and such accidents could be prevented.