China: 21 killed in pipeline blast in Hubei province, five others injured

The local government says the cause of the explosion was being investigated.

At least 21 people died and five others injured in a pipeline explosion in central China on Thursday, the state media reported.

Reports said the blasts occurred when a high-pressure steam pipe burst at a power plant in Dangyang, in the central province of Hubei. The officials and the rescue team were immediately rushed to the spot and relief operation is underway.

The blast happened a day before the first anniversary of the giant explosions that killed at least 165 people in the northern port of Tianjin.

The local government said the cause of the explosion is being investigated.

Three people, who got severely injured in the blast, are being treated in hospital.

The company, who used to operate the plant, is registered for power generation and sales of slag ash and petroleum products.

China continues to suffer from frequent deadly industrial accidents despite a central government-ordered drive to upgrade safety in factories, power plants and mines. These series of incidents have raised questions about the country's safety standards.

More than 130 people were taken to hospital after chemicals leaked from a plant in eastern China earlier this year. Again in the month of April, there was an explosion in the coastal province of Jiangsu at a facility storing chemicals and fuel where the chemical fire burned for 16 hours after the explosion.