’Hundreds of tons’ of cyanide at China blasts site

’Hundreds of tons’ of cyanide at China blasts site
Updated 16 August 2015

’Hundreds of tons’ of cyanide at China blasts site

’Hundreds of tons’ of cyanide at China blasts site

Tianjin, China: Hundreds of tons of highly poisonous cyanide were being stored at the warehouse devastated by two giant explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin which killed 112, a senior military officer said Sunday.
The comments by Shi Luze, chief of the general staff of the Beijing military region, were the first official confirmation of the presence of the chemical at the hazardous goods storage facility at the center of the massive blasts.
The disaster has raised fears of toxic contamination. Residents and victims’ families hit out at authorities for what they said was an information blackout, as China suspended or shut down dozens of websites for spreading “rumors.”
Nearly 100 people remain missing, including 85 firefighters, though officials cautioned that some of them could be among the 88 corpses so far unidentified.
More than 700 people have been hospitalized as a result of Wednesday’s blasts — which triggered a huge fireball and a blaze that emergency workers have struggled to put out since then, with fresh explosions on Saturday.
State prosecutors said Sunday they have started an investigation to see if dereliction of duty played a role in the disaster, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
In a sign of the potentially horrific nature of some of the injuries, the main state evening news bulletin Sunday showed a hospitalized patient whose head, face and neck were completely encased in thick white bandaging save for openings at the eyes nose and mouth.
Shi, who is a general, told a news conference that cyanide had been identified at two locations in the blast zone. “The volume was about several hundreds of tons according to preliminary estimates,” he said.