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Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Seventeen die from China gas leak

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A gas leak at a steel plant in the Chinese city of Zunhua has killed 17 people, according to state media.

Two workers died instantly when gas escaped from a blast furnace at the factory, about 93 miles (150km) east of the capital, Beijing.

The other 15 died later in hospital, while more than 20 others have also been seriously injured by the incident.

The furnace has now been closed and local authorities say they are investigating the cause of the leak.

A special medical team has been despatched to help the survivors.

A spokesman for the municipal government of Tangshan, which administers Zunhua, told Xinhua news agency that the victims were believed to have been poisoned by carbon monoxide emanating from the blast furnace.

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