Taiwan gas blasts in Kaohsiung takes at least 25 lives away (photos)


A series of gas explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung has killed 25 people and injured 267 others, officials say.

The blasts rocked the city's Cianjhen district, scattering cars and blowing deep trenches in roads.

The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines.

Images of the scene showed major fires, upturned vehicles, bodies covered in debris and streets split in two.

The explosions happened late on Thursday night, with witnesses reporting huge fireballs soaring into the air. Taiwan's premier said there were at least five blasts.

"The local fire department received calls of gas leaks late Thursday and then there was a series of blasts around midnight affecting an area of two to three sq km [one sq mile]," the National Fire Agency said in a statement.

"I saw lots of cars and motorcycles with engines all over on the road, and doctors checking if bodies were dead or alive," eyewitness Chen Guan-yuan, who was at the scene shortly after the blast, told the BBC.

"Because the explosion range is so far so it's really difficult to handle this situation immediately," Mr Chen said, adding that the blasts "caused a long-range hole, like a huge cave".