Shanghai, China, Jan 7 (EFE).- At least three people were killed on Friday after a cafeteria in the central Chinese city of Chongqing collapsed due to an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak, said the local media.
Several people were trapped inside the rubble of the structure as authorities launched a rescue operation to search for survivors.
State-run CGTN reported that the rescuers pulled out 13 people from the debris, three of whom died following rescue efforts.
China’s Ministry of Emergency Management dispatched a working group and several experts to guide the rescue efforts.
The broadcaster said more than 20 people were believed trapped in the rubble of the canteen in a subdistrict office in the Wulong District.
The accident occurred due to a suspected gas leak that triggered the explosion and caused the collapse, said the municipality.
The official Global Times newspaper said the survivors were hospitalized, and some were in critical conditions.
The authorities dispatched a 260-person strong rescue team and 50 vehicles to the accident site.
The ministry of emergency management dispatched mining and engineering rescue teams, with a total of 60 people and 20 lifting and digging machines, said the Global Times.
The newspaper quoted a merchant in the Wulong District of Chongqing, where the explosion occurred, saying that he suddenly heard an explosive “bang” and saw smokes outside when he was busy in his shop around noon.
The shop is about 100 meters away from the explosion site. EFE