12 dead in fireworks factory blast
An explosion at a military-run fireworks factory in northern Vietnam has killed at least 12 workers and injured more than 90 others.
Major General Le Quang Dai, the military chief in Phu Tho province, said that the bodies of 12 workers were pulled from the wreckage and that the explosion was under control.
Meanwhile, Tran Minh Khanh, deputy director of the provincial health department, said the explosion injured more than 90 workers, many of them seriously.
Maj Gen Dai said the search and rescue operation was ongoing to try to find survivors.
Several sections of the multi-building factory were levelled in the explosion, and some nearby homes were also damaged.
He said that about 200 workers were present at the time of the blast, but that it was still unclear how many managed to escape. Workers have been working weekends to produce fireworks for the Lunar New Year festival in January, he said.
About 1,000 residents living near the factory were evacuated following the explosion, the online newspaper VnExpress said.
A local police officersaid the explosion could be heard six miles away, and that it levelled some houses and shattered glass windows in others.
The factory is the only facility in Vietnam that produces fireworks to be used for Lunar New Year festivals and other major public events.