Death toll rises to 12 after China gas plant blast

A car is seen crushed by a pole near the site of an explosion at the Henan Coal Gas Group factory in Yima city, in China's central Henan province. (AFP)

The death toll from a huge explosion that rocked a gas plant in central China rose to 12, state media said Saturday, with three people still missing.

Friday's blast at the Henan Coal Gas Group factory left another 13 people seriously wounded and more with light injuries, said official news agency Xinhua.

The blast shattered windows and doors of buildings in a three-kilometre (1.9-mile) radius.

It occurred in the air separation unit of Henan Coal's factory, state broadcaster CCTV said, with Xinhua saying a device in the factory exploded at 5:45 pm on Friday.

All production at the plant has been stopped. More than 270 rescuers are on the scene searching for the missing people, Xinhua said, citing the emergency management ministry.

"Many windows and doors within a three-kilometre radius were shattered, and some interior doors were also blown out by the blast," CCTV said on its Twitter-like Weibo social media account.

Local media showed amateur videos of a massive column of black smoke billowing from the factory and debris littering the roads.

Other images showed the doors and windows of homes blown out and shuttered shops with dented metal fronts.

A bloodied man was seen being helped out of a van in a video posted on social media.

AFP could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

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