Chinese authorities reported a tragic incident on Thursday, revealing that a barbecue restaurant in northwestern China experienced a catastrophic explosion caused by a cooking gas leak.
According to AP, the explosion claimed the lives of 31 individuals and left seven others injured.
The devastating blast occurred at approximately 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday, engulfing the establishment located on a bustling street in Yinchuan. The incident took place during the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, a national celebration dedicated to indulging in rice dumplings and participating in boat races.
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his deep concern, demanding immediate and comprehensive medical treatment for the injured.
He also called for a thorough assessment of safety protocols in order to prevent similar incidents in the future, as reported by Xinhua, the official news agency.
According to an account provided by a witness named Chen, who was approximately 50 meters (164 feet) away from the restaurant, she heard the explosion and witnessed two waiters emerging from the venue.
“One of them collapsed immediately, while thick smoke billowed out and the distinct odor of cooking gas permeated the surroundings,” she said.
Following the tragic event, the Ministry of Emergency Management, under the jurisdiction of the Central Government, announced on its social media platform that search and rescue operations had been concluded early Thursday morning. Investigators were dispatched to determine the exact cause of the explosion.
Regrettably, incidents of this nature are not uncommon in China.
They are often attributed to factors such as inadequate government supervision, corruption, cost-cutting measures implemented by employers, and insufficient safety training for employees.
Recently, during the May Day holiday, a petrochemical plant explosion resulted in the loss of nine lives, and a helicopter crash claimed three lives. In a separate incident, a massive open pit coal mine collapse in Inner Mongolia led to the tragic deaths of 53 miners. This incident led to numerous arrests.
Four individuals were also detained following a fire at an industrial trading company in central China, which caused the death of 38 people in November.
In response to such recurring industrial accidents, the central government has pledged to enforce stricter safety measures.
This commitment arose following a devastating explosion in 2015 at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, a northern port city, which claimed the lives of 173 individuals, primarily firefighters and police officers.
Local officials involved in the incident were subsequently accused of accepting bribes to overlook safety violations.