Report: At least 9 dead after huge explosion in central China

Story highlights

  • A gas leak is blamed for a deadly restaurant explosion in the central China, Xinhua reports
  • Residents report finding blast debris 50 meters (55 yards) south of the explosion site
  • Seven of the 34 injured are in critical condition
An explosion at a restaurant in central China Monday morning has killed nine people and injured 34 others, state media said.
The blast occurred around 7:30 a.m. at Jiatian International Mansion, which is in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, a city fire prevention bureau spokesman told the state-run Xinhua news agency.
It shattered windows 2 to 3 kilometers (1 to 2 miles) from the site, damaged dozens of cars parked nearby and destroyed a bus stop. Glass shards, window frames and even air conditioners from the restaurant were found in a residential compound about 50 meters (54 yards) south of the Jiatian International Mansion, according to residents living nearby.
Rescue work ended around 11 a.m. and all of the injured had been sent to local hospitals for treatment, said a spokesman with the municipal government.
A fireman at the scene said most of the victims were pedestrians walking by the building, including children on their way to school.
"The blast knocked me down with glass fragments hitting my body from head to toe. The tree near me fell down as well," an 11-year-old student who was injured by the explosion told reporters on the scene. Seven of the injured are in critical condition, health officials.
An initial investigation by the Xi'an government blamed a liquefied petroleum gas leak, according to state media reports.
Local fire control authorities have sealed off the area, fearing further blasts.