China company Sinopec 'sorry' for Qingdao oil pipeline blasts that kills 47

 

China's largest oil refiner Sinopec has apologised for explosions from a ruptured oil pipeline that killed 47 people and injured 136 others in one of the country's worst industrial accidents this year.

Sinopec's expansion of petrochemical projects has met with resistance from members of the public, and Friday's blasts in the eastern port city of Qingdao will likely add to growing concern about safety and environmental risks. The accident was the deadliest involving Sinopec.

The explosions ripped slabs of pavement and online photos showed bodies, overturned vehicles and shattered windows in nearby buildings. Black smoke rose above gigantic fuel silos and darkened much of the sky over a bay area.

The pipeline, owned by Sinopec, ruptured and leaked for about 15 minutes onto a street and into the sea before it was shut off. Hours later, as workers cleaned up the spill, the oil caught fire and exploded in two locations, the city government said.

Fu Chengyu, chairman of Sinopec, issued a public apology Saturday morning, according to a company statement. He said that Sinopec will collaborate with a State Council investigation group.

"We will investigate the incident with responsibility and give timely reports," another Sinopec statement said.

The Qingdao Environmental Protection Bureau said barriers had been set up to contain the oil as it spread into the sea, but that a mixture of gas and oil from a storm sewer exploded and caught fire over the sea.

More than 3,000 square metres of sea surface was contaminated, the city government said.

Authorities said the oil had seeped into underground utility pipes, which could have been a factor in the blasts, but they did not elaborate. They assured the public that the explosions did not affect any petrochemical plant or military facilities in the seaside district and that air quality remained good after the disaster.

About 18,000 residents have been evacuated in the wake of the blasts, and power was restored to all except two residential neighborhoods, authorities said.

Of the 136 people hospitalized, 10 remained in critical condition, the city government said.

The Beijing News cited a resident surnamed Gao, who works in logistics, as saying he was driving past Qingdao's Huangdao district when he felt the force of the blasts, and then realized the ground in front of him had fractured. The air was pungent, many cars on both sides of the road were overturned and there was dark smoke rising in the distance, he said.

"It felt like an earthquake, and I was dumbstruck," Gao said, adding that there was chaos on the street as people ran, panicking, in all directions.

Authorities ruled out terrorism but the incident remained under investigation, it said.

President Xi Jinping urged local officials to go all out in finding missing people, treating the injured and finding the cause of the accident, state TV broadcaster CCTV said.

It was China's second deadliest industrial accident this year, behind a chicken factory fire in June in Jilin that killed 121.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?