112 dead, 95 missing in Tianjin blasts
Updated: 2015-08-17 06:20
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pays his respects to firefighters and policemen killed in the Tianjin warehouse blasts on Sunday afternoon. [Photo/China News Service]
A total of 112 bodies have been found, and 95 people remain missing, including 85 firefighters, after Wednesday night's warehouse explosions rocked north China's Tianjin city, officials said at a press conference on Sunday.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived at the site of Tianjin blasts on Sunday afternoon. He visit firefighters, rescuers and those injured in the calamity, as well as gave instructions on rescue operations, treatment of the injured and handling of the aftermath and production safety.
Ten more bodies were found on Saturday after the announcement of 104 deaths, according to Gong Jiansheng, deputy head of the city's publicity department. Twenty-four victims have been identified, Gong said.
The missing firefighters included 13 in active service, and 72 working for the Tianjin Port Group Co, he added.
Two huge explosions took place in a warehouse for hazardous chemicals at about 11:30 pm Wednesday following a fire.
CLEANING & RESCUE
Rescuers are cleaning hundreds of tonnes of cyanide at the blast site, most of which was unaffected, said Shi Luze, chief of staff of the Beijing Military Area Command.
Shi said rescuers were using hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the toxins and building cofferdams to enclose the damaged barrels, while trucking away those intact. Only safe levels of harmful gas were detected near the blast site, he added.
He said more than 2,000 rescuers are searching and cleaning hazardous chemicals outside the core area of the blast site.
Some military chemical specialists found different types of chemicals, including magnesium particles and sulphur scattered in some buildings near the core area.
Two from the group collected three water samples and three earth samples from a large pool that formed at the center of the blast site. The samples have been handed over to environmental authorities for testing.
Bao Jingling, chief engineer of the city's bureau of environmental protection, said among the 17 monitoring sites outside the quarantined area, two reported readings of hydrogen cyanide slightly above the normal standards which would not pose threat to health.
As of Saturday night, wastewater collected from the area had been transferred to a local treatment center.
Even though the 72-hour golden period for saving lives has ended, the rescuers have repeatedly combed through damaged structures and containers at the blast site for miracles.
"We have tried our outmost and hoped to reach every corner to find survivors," Shi said.
INJURED & DISPLACED
A total of 698 people remained in hospital, including 57 in critical or serious conditions, and 77 others have been discharged. More than 200 medical experts and over 4,000 other health workers are treating the injured.
With bruises on his face, firefighter Liao Jiancheng spent his 23rd birthday on Aug. 13 at TEDA Hospital. He was among the three who survived the explosions aboard a fire engine, while five others died.
"As soon as he saw me, he said, 'Mom, I lost many buddies'," said his mother. "He's lucky, only slightly injured."
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