Posted in: Infrastructure,
by Patrick DeHaan on Dec 4, 2013 01:00 PM
A major oil pipeline exploded last week in China, killing 35 people, according to the Chinese government. The latest accident highlights China's poor industrial safety record.
According to sources, the force of the blast, which occurred in the coastal city of Qingdao, ripped roads apart, overturning cars and thinking a plume of black smoke over the city, pictures showed.
The pipeline, operated by state-owned oil behemoth Sinopec, developed a leak Friday morning and exploded as workers were working to fix it, according to local government sources on a verified social media page.
According to the update, a total of 35 people were killed, it said, while 166 were injured. Among those, 57 were seriously hurt and eight people were deemed to be in danger of dying, it said.
The explosion site in the eastern province of Shandong is close to the coast and barriers had been set up to stop oil leaking into the sea, the Qingdao government said.
But Xinhua, citing rescuers, reported that some oil had leaked into Jiaozhou Bay through a rainwater pipeline, with about 3,000 square metres (3,229 square feet) of sea water being contaminated with fires and explosions on the waters at the bay's entrance.
Xinhua said its reporters observed cracks in streets as long as 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mile).
"I have only seen this in disaster films," said a rescue worker surnamed Xue, according to Xinhua.
Xue said he saw a bus stuck between large cracks in the street and that passengers were trapped inside.
News of the accident may not slow pipeline development in the United States, but does make some wonder about the overall safety of such pipelines in developing countries.