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Aluminum spill kills 14
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09:16, August 21, 2007

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Fourteen people have now died as a result of an aluminum spill in East China's Shandong Province on Sunday night. Fifty-nine others remain in hospital, but the death toll is unlikely to rise further as they are all in a stable condition, local government sources said yesterday.

Hao Jian, head of the Zouping County People's Hospital, said some workers were still undergoing surgery, and the hospital had arranged for more than 30 doctors and 40 nurses to provide treatment.

The incident occurred at 8:10 pm on Sunday as workers gathered for a meeting in an aluminum plant affiliated to the Weiqiao Pioneering Group Co, Ltd in Zouping.

It is believed a quantity of molten aluminum at a temperature of about 900 C spilt from its container, creating a blast of steam, putting some 82 people at risk.

The heat from the steam was so intense it ruptured walls, smashed windows and caused the roof of the factory workshop, a single-story building standing 8 m tall, 45 m long and 27 m wide, to partially collapse.

As of 9 pm on Sunday, four people had been confirmed dead, including the plant manager Xiang Chengchang, although the causes of death were not clear.

At 10 am yesterday, a further 10 people succumbed to their injuries.

Wang Yiwei, a contract technician who was working at the factory at the time, said the incident was terrifying.

"I heard a very loud noise, and all the lights in the workshop went out. Then I knew nothing," he told the Xinhua News Agency.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Zouping and the provincial capital Jinan, Pan Yulan, the deputy head of Zouping County, was quoted as saying.

Thirteen people suffered severe injuries, but "all of them are now in a stable condition and won't die", www.cnr.cn said.

The report said rescue work at the scene was now almost complete and an initial investigation had shown the incident was caused by human error.

The county government has asked all companies to carry out safety checks to help prevent further accidents, the report said.

A similar incident happened in April at a steel plant in Northeast China's Liaoning Province. White-hot molten metal at 1,500 C was thrown into a room where workers had gathered as they changed shifts in Qinghe Special Steel Corporation, in the city of Tieling. Thirty-two workers were killed and six injured.

Source: China Daily

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