Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12

08:23, December 20, 2010      

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The death toll in a fireworks blast in central China' s Hunan Province rose from an earlier announced nine to 12 after DNA tests results were completed , local authorities said Sunday night.

Another two people were believed to be missing, police said, adding that three of the 12 victims were still to be identified.

The blast, which also injured nine others, occurred in Ningxiang County of Changsha, the provincial capital, at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when a truck loaded with fireworks fuses hit a power pole and sparks from fallen cables ignited the fuses.

The blast destroyed the truck and nearby houses, shattering windows and cracking walls hundreds of meters away.

Rescue work and clean-up at the site ended on Sunday, a local government spokesman said.

The nine injured, who are being treated in hospital, are in stable conditions, according to the spokesman.

However, the whereabouts of the truck driver remains unknown.

Police continue investigating the accident.

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