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Taiwan opens investigation into gas explosion disaster

Published on Aug 2, 2014 8:03 PM
Soldiers and workers clean up a road ripped open by a gas explosion in Kaohsiung on Aug 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AFP) - Taiwan's president on Saturday promised a swift investigation into the cause of deadly gas explosions that rocked the island's densely populated second city, as residents accused local authorities of failing to avert the tragedy.

The blasts sparked massive fires which tore through Kaohsiung's Cianjhen district late Thursday, killing at least 28 and leaving a yawning trench running for hundreds of metres down a series of major thoroughfares in the worst gas explosion ever in Taiwan.

Cars were thrown onto the roofs of buildings several stories high and had to be winched down to earth, and nearly 300 people suffered injuries, including serious burns, during the explosions and subsequent inferno.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who visited a Kaohsiung hospital where the injured were recuperating on Saturday, vowed a full investigation into the cause of the incident, and a review of the network of subterranean pipes.

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