Seven steel plant workers died and another 10 were seriously injured on Wednesday morning when gas leaked from a blast furnace at a factory here near Beijing, a local government spokesman said.
The leak took place at about 9 a.m. in the Ganglu Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. in Zunhua City, about 150 km east of Beijing, said the spokesman for the municipal government.
Two workers died instantly and five more succumbed to their injuries at a hospital, he said.
The local government has called in top medical specialists in the city to treat the injured workers, he said.
The blast furnace stopped operation after the accident and no further leaks were reported. Local authorities ordered the company to halt production.
An investigation into the leak is underway, the spokesman added.
Zunhua is administered by Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing. The Ganglu company, founded in May 2001, has about 7,000 employees. It has an annual output of 3 million tonnes of steel products.