5 dead, 20 missing in China factory explosion

5 dead, 20 missing following blast at explosives factory in eastern China

Associated Press
At least 12 dead in China factory explosion
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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work at the site where a blast ripped through an explosives manufacturing plant in Caofan Township of Zhangqiu City, east China's Shandong Province, Monday, May 20, 2013. Some people were killed and about 20 are missing after the accident. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Xu Suhui) NO SALES

BEIJING (AP) -- A massive blast ripped through an explosives factory Monday in eastern China, killing five people and leaving another 20 missing, state media reported.

Rescue work was continuing at the site of the mid-morning explosion in Shandong province's Caofan township, the Xinhua News Agency said. The company website said the factory run by the Baoli group manufactures 10,000 tons of industrial explosives annually.

A total of 34 people were inside the factory at the time of the blast, and only 14 of them have been found so far, including those that died, Xinhua said. The cause of the blast and condition of the nine survivors were not known.

A government spokesman for the surrounding city of Zhangqiu said a full accounting of the dead and injured was being compiled and would be released. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, he would only give his surname, Cao.

China has sought to tighten access to explosives used for quarrying following a series of attacks by people using homemade bombs. However, safety rules are often ignored and industrial accidents remain common.

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