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December 7, 2009

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5 gas injured still 'critical'

A DISTRICT task force is in talks with victims and relatives of the killed and injured in Friday's gas leak on such issues as compensation.

The accident in Hongkou District caused two deaths and 23 injuries as a result of a burst pipe underground, according to preliminary investigation.

Five of the injured were still in critical condition yesterday. Fourteen were in stable condition. Four left the hospital, officials said.

City government said in a Saturday meeting that a thorough check of underground pipe lines is needed to eliminate any further tragedies.

Relatives of the two dead victims have arrived in the city from Jiangxi and Shandong provinces, waiting for investigation results.

Authorities were still looking into the cause. But they said early investigation showed the gas pipe was ruptured by "an external force" and the gas entered buildings through the sewer.

A conclusion on the cause is expected to be announced this week.

Hundreds of residents near Hongkou's Xi'an Road were evacuated after gas poisoning was detected about 7:35am last Friday.

Neighbors broke in through the window after the owners failed to answer the door when the gas smell was "pervasive," said witnesses.

A 51-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man were pronounced dead after emergency workers arrived, Hongkou District police said.


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