|25 dead in Taiwan gas explosions
A series of powerful gas blasts killed at least 25 people and injured up to 267 Friday in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, overturning cars and ripping up roads as terrified residents fled an inferno.
The explosions sparked massive fires which tore through the city's Cianjhen district, leaving a yawning trench running for hundreds of metres down the middle of a major thoroughfare and littering the streets with dead bodies, AFP reports.
Dramatic video footage captured by dashboard cameras inside cars showed multiple blasts and pillars of flame erupting from manholes as drivers frantically tried to avoid being engulfed.
In its latest update, the National Fire Agency said the blasts killed at least 25 people and revised the number of injured to 267. Four firefighters who rushed to the scene after residents smelled gas were among those killed in the blasts.
The explosions, believed to have been triggered by gas leaking from underground pipelines, were powerful enough to upturn whole cars and split open paved roads. One street had been ripped along its length, swallowing several fire engines and other vehicles.
Witnesses reported seeing bodies strewn across the streets of Taiwan's second largest city, which lies adjacent to a huge petrochemical complex housing dozens of petrochemical plants.
"I saw fire soaring up to possibly 20 storeys high after a blast and fire engines and cars being blown away while around 10 bodies lay on the street,'' witness Johnson Liu told AFP.
Local television aired footage from a dashboard camera capturing a loud explosion which tore up the road in front of a blue truck as it waited at a junction. Rocks and debris could be seen showering down on the street before the footage faded to black.