Oil pipeline explosions Friday in Huangdao District of eastern China’s Qingdao city  killed 52 people, with another 11 still missing, state media Xinhua News Agency reported.

The explosions ripped roads apart, overturned vehicles and ignited fires, leaving 136 people hospitalized and forcing 18,000 residents to evaluate.

The blasts were reportedly occurred because of an oil leak in the Huangwei crude oil pipeline operated by Sinopec, China’s largest state-owned oil refiner.

Six of the dead were firefighters affiliated with Sinopec’s Huangdao oil warehouse, and four of the dead have not yet been identified, Xinhua said.

China’s President Xi Jinping visited the injured people in a local hospital in Qingdao on Sunday afternoon, and held a meeting to review the report on oil leakage and explosions. Xi demanded that lessons should be learned from the accident and said measures will be taken to eliminate work safety risks.

Sinopec’s chairman Fu Chengyu apologized for the accident and vowed to conduct rescue and relief work, and to cooperate with the State Council’s investigation to find the cause of the accident.

The blasts have caused oil to contaminate some 3,000 square meters of sea surface water. The Huangdao oil terminal in Qingdao has ceased operations and oil flows were suspended in all of the city’s pipelines pending safety checks, Reuters said.

The leaking pipeline, which has been used for 27 years, measures 711 mm in diameter and stretches 248.52 km, with an annual oil transfer capacity of 10 million tonnes, Sinopec said on its microblog.


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