Deadly explosion ripped through Chinese kindergarten as parents came to collect their children
An explosion has ripped through a Chinese kindergarten as parents came to collect their children, killing at least eight people and wounding many more.
Two people were found dead near the entrance of Chuangxin Kindergarten in China's eastern Jiangsu province on Thursday afternoon, and six others died later at hospital, according to news agency Xinhua.
Some 66 people were injured. It was not clear how many of the dead and wounded were children.
Nine of those hurt were in critical condition in hospital, Xinhua reported.
The blast happened as pupils were being picked up at the end of the school day, according to the police department's Weibo account.
Local newspaper Xiandaikuaibao reported that the blast appeared to have been caused by a cooking gas container.
Witnesses said on social media that the explosion might have occurred at a nearby food stall.
A witness told Global Times that the blast hurled people several metres into the air.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed adults and children lying on the ground, some of them bleeding. A video that was apparently shot at the hospital shows adults and children receiving emergency treatment.
Police said an investigation into the cause of the explosion was under way.
The public security ministry sent a team to investigate the explosion, state media reported.
Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun ordered "full-scale" rescue efforts and an investigation into the cause of the blast.
Kindergartens in China have been targeted before in apparent revenge attacks carried out by mentally ill people or those bearing grudges against their neighbours and society.
In 2010, nearly 20 children were killed in attacks on schools, prompting a response from top government officials and leading many schools to beef up security with the posting of guards and the installation of gates and other barriers. Last year, a knife-wielding assailant injured seven students outside a primary school in a northern city.
China maintains tight control over firearms and most attacks are carried out using knives, axes or homemade explosives.