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11 workers die in dorm blast

ELEVEN people were killed and 20 hurt after an explosion knocked down a construction dormitory early yesterday in Jiangsu Province near a building site for the high-speed Shanghai-Nanjing rail line.

The injured were in stable condition last night.

An initial investigation showed that the 1:45am blast was triggered by the ignition of leftover aluminum powder, causing the building to collapse, said Xiao Quan, spokesman for the provincial government.

The building was used as a factory to process aluminum powder several years ago. Investigators did not say how the powder exploded.

The China Railway 24th Bureau Group rented the building in a small village in Danyang City for its workers, most of whom are from southwest China's Guizhou Province.

The bureau is in charge of construction of the Danyang section of the rail link, which is expected to be completed and running before next May, in time for the Shanghai World Expo.

Lu Zongxian, one of the survivors, told Xinhua news agency that 44 workers had been living in the building. Some of them were sent by their supervisor to unload industrial materials at the time of the accident and were not present when the explosion occurred.

Rescue and cleanup operations were completed by late yesterday.

Funding for the 39.45 billion yuan (US$5.76 billion) rail line is being provided by the Ministry of Railways and the governments of Jiangsu and Shanghai.

It will link Shanghai to Nanjing and a number of key cities and is expected to carry 30 million passengers a year at speeds up to 250 kilometers.


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