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Classes suspended at six schools after truck blast


08:24, November 03, 2011

Xiong Yuanyuan, an 8-year-old girl injured when two trucks carrying dynamite exploded, receives treatment in the No 1 People's Hospital in Fuquan city of Guizhou province on Wednesday. She was walking out of her school gates when the blast occurred. [Photo by Ou Dongqu/Xinhua]

FUQUAN, Guizhou - Eight people have been confirmed dead and 218 are being treated in hospital following the explosion of two trucks carrying dynamite in Southwest China's Guizhou province on Tuesday, according to officials.

The latest victim died in a hospital in Guizhou's Fuquan city late on Tuesday and nine people are still in a critical condition.

Due to safety concerns, the Fuquan education bureau suspended classes for more than 6,000 students until inspectors have checked the six schools they attend. Classes may resume on Thursday if the schools are given the all clear.

More than 50 students and seven teachers were injured in the accident.

Investigators found that the two trucks, which exploded on Tuesday while stopped at a repair garage near Machangping town in Guizhou province, had detoured an expressway checkpoint set up for overloaded vehicles, Huang Kangsheng, vice-governor of the province, said on Wednesday at a meeting to coordinate the investigation.

Before the blast the drivers had planned to transfer the explosives to smaller trucks, because heavily loaded vehicles are forbidden from entering the central districts of Guiyang, capital city of Guizhou.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that the two trucks were overloaded.

The two vehicles, owned by a transport company based in Fuquan, had each been contracted to transport 36 tons of dynamite to warehouses belonging to the Guizhou Lianhe Civilian Explosive Materials Co Ltd, which is based in Guiyang, Huang said.

The trucks and drivers had licenses to transport explosives, according to a report filed to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Wednesday by the supplier of the explosives Hunan Nanling Civilian Blasting Equipment Co Ltd, which is based in Guizhou's neighboring Hunan province.

The report did not mention which party should be held accountable for the blast.

However, Yang Huilin, a manager of the warehouse company, said the supplier of the explosives should be held responsible, as it had chosen the carrier.

The blast on Tuesday wreaked havoc on the town, aside from the garage where the trucks exploded, the blast destroyed a nearby tollgate, two granaries, and shattered the windows of buildings within a radius of 3 kilometers.

A total of 20,000 local residents were affected by the blast and the homes of at least 70 households were declared unsafe for people to live in.

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