2 dead and 12 missing in explosion at northern Chinese chemical plant

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BEIJING — A massive explosion at a chemical plant in northeastern China has left at least two people dead and 12 missing.

Another 34 people were injured in Sunday’s explosion on the outskirts of the city of Panjin in Liaoning province, east of the capital Beijing.

Local government news reports showed pictures of flames and thick black smoke billowing from the complex of chemical processing machines, pipes and storage containers.

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Firefighters got the blaze under control and the local environmental agency monitored the impact on air quality in the area, the government of Panshan County in the suburbs of the city said in a press release.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, authorities said. People posting on social media said they felt the shock of the blast, but the damage didn’t seem to extend beyond the factory.

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China, with the second largest economy in the world, regularly experiences fatal industrial accidents.

The central government has pledged stricter security measures since a 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers. In that case, a number of local officials were accused of taking bribes to cover up security violations.

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