China's President Xi Jinping visits victims of deadly pipeline blasts in Qingdao


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The Independent Online

President Xi Jinping has visited victims of the deadly explosions that ripped through the eastern city of Qingdao after an oil pipeline ruptured.

The official death toll from the blasts rose to 52 earlier today after rescuers found more bodies. Eleven people are still missing, the authorities said.

The accident was the deadliest involving state-owned company Sinopec.

The pipeline 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.

Sinopec's expansion of petrochemical projects has met with resistance from members of the public, and Friday's blasts will likely add to growing concern about safety and environmental risks.

Sinopec apologized Saturday for the explosions, which ripped slabs of pavement and overturned vehicles. It said it would investigate and "give timely reports."