A tanker truck exploded on a highway in southeastern China on Saturday, killing 19 people, injuring at least 172 others, with 24 of them in severe condition, authorities said.
Locals said the explosion has destroyed much of a nearby village, causing residential buildings and factories to collapse and dozens of cars to get burned.
The truck carrying liquefied gas exploded around 4:45 p.m. on June 13 when it just left the Shenyang-Haikou Expressway in Wenling city, Zhejiang Province, local authorities announced on its official social media account.
The exit is located at the center of Liangshan village in Daxi township of the city. The truck belongs to Ruiyang Dangerous Goods Transportation Company, and was on its way from Ningbo to Rui’an—two cities also located in Zhejiang.
When the tanker truck exploded, large amounts of liquefied gas erupted into the air and reached a nearby factory workshop, which caused a second explosion, according to the Wenling city government.
Locals described the details of the explosions.
“It’s like an earthquake, with a blast rushing over you Almost all windows in the residential building I live in were broken,” a local who lives about 0.6 miles away from the point of explosion told state-run media Beijing News on June 13.
The villager found that several of his neighbors were injured by the broken glass from the blasted windows.
Another state-run media, China Highway, quoted local villager Ms. Lu as saying: “Half of our village has been damaged.”
According to the report, the tanker left the truck upon explosion and hit a local resident’s house. This caused the roofs of the house and nearby buildings to collapse. All their doors and windows were also damaged.
A local villager shared on YouTube a video shot from his home, showing the trees and grass around the explosions to have been burned, while furniture and appliances inside his house were broken.
Another villager shared videos showing small fires on collapsed buildings and factories. Firefighters were searching for survivors with the help of excavators.
A villager said in a video: “Look here. About ten to twenty cars were incinerated to almost nothing. Almost all windows in our village were broken.”
Due to the blast, several highways closed the exits close to the village. It is unknown when these exits will reopen.
The onsite rescue effort is still in progress.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.