Tianjin explosions: New footage from China shows both devastating blasts at terrifyingly close range

People filming thought the original fire could be at a petrol station before a series of explosions started, sending them running for cover

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The Independent Online

New footage has captured huge explosions that killed at least 50 people in the Chinese port city of Tianjin at terrifyingly close range.

It starts as a blaze at an industrial warehouse worsens and develops into a series of larger and larger blasts.

Speaking in English, the man and woman behind the camera suggest that the fire “might be at a gas station” before the explosions start.

Warning: Footage contains strong language

Within seconds, a deafening bang can be heard as a large explosion sends a huge fireball in the air and burning debris raining on nearby homes.

Those filming scream and shout in fright, with the woman asking: “Are we dangerous here?”

During a brief respite, they appear to believe the explosions are over before the second and more powerful blast blanks out the screen with white light.

It is followed seconds later by a shockwave that sends debris shooting towards the camera, knocking the man holding it backwards as a fiery mushroom cloud shoots up, filling the air with fireballs and smoke.

The footage ends as the people run from the window to find safety.

The two huge explosions, including one with the force of 21 tons of TNT, came just 30 seconds apart.

They were so large they could be seen from space and were registered by earthquake sensors.

18-Japan-Meteorological-Agency-AFP-Getty.jpg
The explosions at a warehouse in the port city of Tianjin were so huge they were picked up as a bright white spot by the Japan Meteorological Agency’s satellites

Other witnesses caught footage from car dashcams and homes, showing people running for cover as windows were blown out by shockwaves.

Fires that started as the blasts torched cars and reduced buildings to blackened shells are still smouldering among hazardous materials, prompting fears of further blasts.

At least 50 people were killed and 700 injured, and the search for survivors continues. Authorities said the toll could have been much higher if the disaster hit a more populated area.Tianjin-fire.jpg

“Forces from all sides are searching for the (remaining) missing firefighters,” said Zhou Tian, the head of Tianjin Fire Department.

“Many types of different materials with different characteristics are mixed together and could at any time result in a chemical reaction or explosion.”

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency's Beijing environmental emergency response centre, as well as 214 Chinese military nuclear and biochemical materials specialists, are in Tianjin to investigate the cause of the blast and establish whether it has spread toxic gas in the city.

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