China factory explosion kills at least 65

Blast tears through auto parts factory in Kunshan, killing dozens and injuring over 100

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An explosion at a car parts factory in eastern China left at least 65 people dead and scores injured, according to Chinese state media.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the blast, at a factory that polishes wheel hubs in Kunshan, 600 miles south-east of Beijing, left more than 100 people injured, with many suffering severe burns.

China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast footage of billowing black smoke rising from the plant and fire trucks in the factory compound, while news websites posted pictures of victims with their clothes burned off and bodies blackened.

More than 200 workers were at the site when the blast tore through the building at around 7.30 on Saturday morning, Xinhua cited the government as saying.

State media reported that rescuers pulled out more than 40 bodies, while another 20 or so died in hospital. The explosion is thought to have taken place inside a workshop in the factory.

The factory is operated by the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Company, whose clients include US giant General Motors. It employs more than 450 workers, according to the firm's website.

Xinhua said that a preliminary investigation in to the cause of the blast has shown that it was likely a dust explosion, which happens when particles, which could include dust or powdered metals, combust after coming in to contact with a spark.

Industrial accidents are relatively common in China, where workplace safety regulations are often ignored.

Additional reporting by Associated Press