Free Press Journal

Man rescued from China blast site, toll 85


China explosion

Beijing: A man was rescued on Saturday from the site of massive warehouse explosions in China’s Tianjin city which has claimed 85 lives so far, authorities said.

Specialised anti-chemical soldiers who entered the blast premises earlier in the day, found him 50 metres away from the blast point, Xinhua news agency reported.  The man was conscious and could talk. He was rushed to a hospital in the city.  A 70-member team of specialised anti-chemical soldiers entered the area to search for possible survivors. A total of 721 others have been hospitalised, including 25 critically wounded and 33 in serious condition.  Meanwhile, residents in a relocation site of the blasts have been evacuated in fear of chemical pollutants in the air.

People who were relocated at the second primary school of Tianjin Development Zone were transferred in the morning, after receiving an alert of wind change. Specialists investigating in the deadly explosions believed the existence of sodium cyanide, a highly toxic inorganic compound, is “possible”. Gao Huaiyou, vice head of the Tianjin administrative bureau of work safety, said in a press conference that the dangerous chemicals stored in the warehouse possibly include sodium cyanide.

But he said further confirmation is still needed, because the containers were not open, and some even not registered. He was not sure how much sodium cyanide, if any, was in storage at the time of blasts. Some local media reported earlier that Rui Hai Logistics, owner of the warehouse which is licensed to store dangerous chemicals, had as much as 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide, but Gao said it was not yet verifiable. Some other dangerous chemicals likely to be stored included potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate. Two explosions, 30 seconds apart, rocked the Binhai New Area of eastern Tianjin late Wednesday.

The initial blaze broke out at Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai International Logistics warehouse, which deals with compressed gas, flammable liquid and toxic chemicals — some of which become highly explosive when mixed with water.