A building housing a canteen in southwest China collapsed after an explosion allegedly caused by a gas leak.
A building housing a canteen in Chongqing in southwestern China has collapsed after an explosion suspected to be caused by a gas leak that killed at least 16 people, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Friday.
By midnight (1600 GMT) on Friday, 26 people had been taken from the site, 16 of whom died, the broadcaster said on Saturday.
One person was in critical condition, and the other injured were also in hospital after being trapped in concrete after the blast.
The Ministry of Emergency Management sent a team of more than 600 staff members to the scene in Chongqing’s Wulong district, CCTV said.
Images posted by the Xinhua News Agency show heavy equipment lifting concrete slabs from the site of the explosion.
Other photos show rescue workers and men in military uniform digging through the rubble and carrying some of the injured.
According to Xinhua’s world service, Globalink, the blast took place while the people were eating their lunch. The report said the cause of the blast is now being investigated.
Construction and industrial accidents are not uncommon in China, often due to drivers cutting corners, lax safety standards and dilapidated infrastructure.
A landslide at a construction site in southwest China’s Guizhou province on Monday killed at least 14 people.
At least 18 people died in December after being trapped in a mine in Chongqing, the region’s second such accident in just over two months.
In July, 14 workers in southern China’s Guangdong province died after a tunnel they were building flooded.
One of China’s worst accidents was a massive 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin which killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers.