| GEO World|
| 13 killed in China starch plant blast: state media|
| Updated at: 1043 PST, Thursday, February 25, 2010|
BEIJING: Thirteen people are dead and five others are missing after a large explosion at a starch production plant in northern China, state media said Thursday.
The blast, which also injured up to 50 people, occurred on Wednesday at the Lihua Starch Co Ltd factory in Hebei province, media news agency said.
The provincial government has set up a special investigative team to probe the cause of the blast, and both the director and vice-manager of the plant have been taken into police custody for questioning.
Nine of the injured were hospitalised in serious condition, it added.
Production was halted after the incident. China's work safety record is notoriously bad, as an emphasis on economic growth over the past three decades has led to widespread disregard for workplace security.