Rescue operations reinforced at gas blowout site

Over 1,500 police, firemen and officers and men from the Chinese People's Liberation Army joined the rescue operation Friday around the area of Tuesday's gas blowout that killed at least 191 people in Kaixian County, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

Divided into 80 teams, the rescuers will search for victims over an area of about 80 square kilometers.

The efforts came after Hua Jianmin, state councilor and secretary-general of the State Council, arrived at the site with arescue team at 1:15 a.m. Friday.

Hua visited camps where evacuated people were accommodated, expressing sympathy and condolences on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

Hua called for continued efforts in the evacuation, and said food and water supplies for relocated people must be guaranteed.

The natural gas field, operated by the China National PetroleumCorporation, is 337 kilometers northeast of Chongqing Municipality.The accident took place Tuesday night when a well blowout suddenlyreleased a high concentration of natural gas and sulfurated hydrogen.

Most gas blowout victims local residents
Most of the people killed in thegas blowout Tuesday at a natural gas field in southwest China were residents living near the blowout well, said sources with the Chongqing public security bureau.

The accident left 191 people dead. Rescuers found 182 bodies Thursday and only two of them were identified as workers at the natural gas field. Nine people died in hospitals or on the way to hospital.

The natural gas field, operated by the China National PetroleumCorporation, is 337 kilometers northeast of Chongqing Municipality.The accident took place Tuesday night when a well blowout suddenlyreleased a high concentration of natural gas and sulfurated.

Some 290 people were hospitalized while some 3,000 local peoplewere reported to have suffered sulfurated hydrogen-caused symptomslike slight conjunctivitis and colds, according to local health bureau.



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