Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his condolences Friday to the victims and families of gas explosions that rocked Taiwan overnight. At least 26 people were killed and more than 250 were injured in the southern city of Kaoshiung.
A series of five blasts sent concrete and cars into the sky and made trenches in the streets. Half a dozen fire trucks were overturned after being called to the scene. Among the dead are four firefighters.
As rescue teams picked through the rubble of pavement Friday searching for missing colleagues, the National Fire Agency said those seriously injured by the blasts are being treated.
On Friday, Taiwanese officials visited the Central Disaster Emergency Center in New Taipei City to get updates on the explosions and discuss prevention of secondary blasts.
The explosions are believed to have been caused by a propane leak, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the cause and location of the leaks are still under investigation. Taiwan authorities are expected to release more details Saturday morning. The 12,000 residents who were evacuated returned to their homes after officials said the risk of more explosions was gone. CCTV-America’s Ellen Scott has more.