At least 24 people were killed and 270 injured after a series of underground gas explosions went off at a construction site in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, in the early hours of the morning.
Over 300 rescue personnel were sent to the site to search for victims after a series of blasts rocked the construction site near Kaixuan road and Ersheng road in Qianzhen district around midnight on Thursday and early Friday morning.
Monitoring surveillance shows footage of the multiple blasts which residents described as an “earthquake-like” explosion that sent dust flying several meters high, cutting off power in the area.
At least five explosions occurred in the densely-populated area. Several streets caved in, leaving long and deep ditches in the earth. A large number of cars were overturned.
It’s reportedly the most severe gas explosion to hit the region in 18 years.
Firefighters were called to the scene to investigate a gas leak before the explosions went off several hours later. Four firefighters were among the 24 dead, according to the Associated Press.
The exploded gas line belongs to government-owned CPC Corp., which told The Associated Press it showed no signs of problems before the explosions. CPC officials at the scene Friday declined to offer information about reasons for the blasts. […]
Chang Jia-juch, the director of the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center, said the leaking gas was most likely to be propene. One of the fires, along a 10-meter stretch of gas line, is still on fire, the National Fire Agency says on its website.
The source of the leak was unknown. Chang said, however, that propene was not for public use, and that it was a petrochemical material.
The explosions affected an area as large as two to three square kilometers, which is now closed off as teams search for victims amid the rubble. It’s expected that there will be few survivors left.
Photos taken this morning:
A CCTV recording:
Taken by netizens:
By Lucy Liu and Christy Lau
[ Images via News 163, Taiwan Apple Daily ]
[ Videos via Tencent Video, Youtube ]