School collapses in China, killing 41 |

School collapses in China, killing 41

Associated Press

BEIJING – An explosion wrecked four classrooms at an elementary school in southeastern China on Tuesday, killing 41 people and injuring 27 others. The dead included children and their teachers.

Rescuers spent hours digging through the rubble of the two-story school in the village of Fang Lin in Jiangxi province, about 480 miles southwest of Shanghai.

By 6 p.m. – some seven hours after the blast – 29 bodies had been found, some of them teachers, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said. It said 27 injured people were being treated in hospital.

Asked whether all the dead were children, a local government official said: ”Not all of them.” Contacted by telephone, he said he had no other details. He did not give his name.

”Most of them were pupils,” said another person who picked up the phone at the local township government office and who gave his surname, Yang. ”They were attending classes.”

The cause of the explosion was not known.

Gov. Shu Shengyou rushed back to the province from Beijing, where he was attending the annual meeting of China’s legislature, the news agency said.

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