A powerful explosion ripped through a building in northwestern China on Monday, killing at least seven people and injuring 94 others.
The blast in the town of Xinmin, in Shaanxi province, destroyed or damaged dozens of nearby buildings including a hospital, state news agency Xinhua said.
At least 7 people killed in powerful blast in NW China, nearly 100 others wounded. Video shows massive damage pic.twitter.com/PXWRqAMWNc
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 24, 2016
The cause of the blast is as yet unknown, but media reports said that it may have been caused by explosives illegally stored in the building.
China has a bad safety record, with previous blasts blamed on poorly stored chemicals or industrial explosives. These materials are easy to get hold of due to their use in China's booming coal mining sector.
There have also been cases of people deliberately setting off blasts to settle local grievances such as land disputes.
After the explosion, dozens of firefighters were sent to the scene as rescuers searched for survivors trapped in the rubble, Xinhua said.
Pictures showed widespread damage, with windows blown out of buildings, dense grey smoke engulfing the streets and bloodied people, some lying on the ground.