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China blasts death toll rises to 44, with more than 500 injured

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By Euronews
China blasts death toll rises to 44, with more than 500 injured

Chinese state media says the death toll in huge explosions that hit the port city of Tianjin has more than doubled to 44, with over 500 other people injured.

Smoke was still rising and fires burning, hours after Wednesday night’s blasts, which were so large that they could be seen by satellites in space.

Buildings are said to have collapsed and shockwaves could be felt for kilometres around.

The explosions occurred at a warehouse in an industrial area of the northeastern city, where toxic chemicals and gas were stored.

At least a dozen firefighters are among the dead.

Anxious relatives, including Zhang Shengfeng, are looking for those missing.

“He is my brother,” he said.

“We were in Beijing when we heard about the explosion so we drove here to look for him. So far we have found nothing. We heard there were seven fire brigades deployed and many firefighters killed. So we are very worried.”

“I am very worried,” said Li Wenxue.

“Right now we don’t know what chemicals are in the air and we fear it could be toxic and harmful in the future.”

Internet videos show fireballs shooting into the sky in blasts registered as seismic events by the US Geological Survey.

The exact cause is unclear.

Senior factory executives are said to be being questioned by police.