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Many hurt in China factory blast

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Firemen check the wreckage of a car after a factory explosion in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province (AP)

Firemen check the wreckage of a car after a factory explosion in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province (AP)

Firefighters extinguish a building after an explosion at a plastics factory in China (AP)

Firefighters extinguish a building after an explosion at a plastics factory in China (AP)

Medics transport an injured victim to an ambulance after an explosion at a China plastics factory (AP)

Medics transport an injured victim to an ambulance after an explosion at a China plastics factory (AP)

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Firemen check the wreckage of a car after a factory explosion in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province (AP)

A powerful blast has rocked a plastics factory in eastern China, killing at least six people and injuring hundreds, state media reported.

The explosion, suspected to be caused by a gas leak, happened at about 10am local time on Wednesday in downtown Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province in eastern China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xinhua said its reporters saw burned bodies being carried out of the plant and that buildings and vehicles within 100 yards of the blast were badly damaged.

It originally said 100 people had been taken to hospital, but later cited local media as saying more than 300 people are in hospital and that 50 are in serious condition.

Firefighters were still trying to put out the blaze nearly four hours after the blast, Xinhua said. It said passengers on a passing bus were also injured.

Accidents are common in China's safety-lax factories, with fires, explosions and other problems killing thousands of people each year.

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