At least five workers have been killed and more than ten others injured in an explosion at a chemical factory in central Japan, officials say.
A spokesman for the plant said on Thursday that the blast went off at the metal and chemical company Mitsubishi Materials Corp.’s Yokkaichi plant located in Mie Prefecture’s city of Yokkaichi.
“Five people are dead. 12 people have been injured, of whom nine sustained only minor injuries,” a Mie prefectural police spokeswoman said.
The death toll could rise.
According to officials the explosion took place as maintenance crew members were fixing a heat exchanger used in the production of silicone items.
Reports say a hydrogen explosion caused by chemical reaction was most likely the cause of the incident.
“The explosion occurred but there is no fire. We received an emergency call at 2:09 pm (0509 GMT)… and at 2:21 pm the incident appeared to have calmed down,” an unnamed police spokesman said.[Read more]