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Blast in Haikou Kills 3

Three people were killed in a chemical explosion in Haikou, the capital of South China's Hainan Province, on Saturday. Eight others were injured and one is still missing, according to local authority sources.

Wang Yingjie, the director of Haikou's police authority, said the cause of the explosion was still under investigation.

Local witnesses said the blast was caused by two repair workers who struck "a kind of explosive-prone chemical" which was stored in the office building, owned by the Agricultural Science Academy of Hainan Province.

The chemical, originally powder, had condensed because of exposure to recent rain storms, and workers were trying to loosen it by hitting it.

"As far as I know, more than 10 people were injured and some were seriously hurt," said Yao, who lives near the destroyed building.

The two workers, Li Juhua and Du Qiju, were both killed. The third victim was Lin Hong, the academy's accountant, who was working an extra shift. Lin's daughter, Jilin Sirui, was with her mother but escaped death, local authority said. One of the victims was pulled from the ruins shortly after the explosion, which happened at 5:20 pm. Another body was found at midnight. The injured were taken to three hospitals in Haikou.

Yao said a third of the three-floor building was destroyed and doors and windows were damaged within 500 metres of the explosion site.

(China Daily 07/09/2001)

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