TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The death toll from two huge blasts caused by a leaked oil from a ruptured pipeline in an eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao has risen to 44 with 166 injured in one the country's worst industrial accidents of the year, authorities said on Saturday.
The pipeline, run by state-owned oil giant Sinopec, sprang a leak early Friday and exploded several hours later as workers sought to repair it.
Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu told state television on Saturday: "(We) are deeply grieved, we express our deep condolences for the dead, our support to their families... and our apologies to the whole country. "(We'll) find out the accident's causes as soon as possible and give a reasonable explanation to everyone."
China has a very poor record on industrial safety as lax law enforcement and corruption enables business owners to cut corners or offer bribes to evade standards.
The blasts in Qingdao on Friday ripped slabs of pavement and online photos showed bodies, overturned vehicles and shattered windows in nearby buildings. "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.
ANINGTIAS JATMIKA | CHANNEL NEWS ASIA | TIMES OF INDIA