Prosecutors confirm pipe damage suspected in Kaohsiung blasts
Central News Agency
2014-08-04 07:19 PM
Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Kaohsiung prosecutors confirmed Monday that a pipeline suspected of being the source of gas leaks was found to be damaged after a second check at the site of the?fatal explosions in the southern city, although they did not name the company responsible for maintaining the pipe. Prosecutor Hsieh Chao-ching told reporters that he and experts from the Kaohsiung-based Metal Industries Research and Development Center had determined during a second inspection that one of three adjacent underground pipelines was broken and suspected of having been the source of tons of propylene that leaked, triggering the July 31 blasts.

Hsieh, however, did not pinpoint which company owns the pipe, saying that a ruling on the actual owner will not be made until further tests have been carried out and after a meeting with the three companies in charge of the three pipes. Two of the pipes are used by state-run oil company CPC Corp., Taiwan to transport the flammable gas to China Petrochemical Development Corp. and to petrochemical firm LCY Chemical Corp. respectively, while a third carries propylene from China General Terminal and Distribution Corp. (CGTD) to LCY Chemical. Kaohsiung environmental protection authorities have pointed the finger at the pipe used by CGTD and LCY Chemical as being responsible for the gas leaks, saying that it?was the only one of the three that had been used to transport gas in the hours leading up to the explosions. The prosecutor also said further checks are needed to decide if damage to the pipe was the cause of the blasts and to determine the reason for the damage. Hsieh said it remained unclear if it was the blasts that caused the damage or if the damage resulted from corrosion or loosened patches. Initial investigations found a patch on the four-inch pipe used by CGTD and LCY Chemical to be loosening. The explosions that occurred along six kilometers of roads in Taiwan's second-largest city have left at least 28 dead and 307 injured. (By Chang Che-fon and Scully Hsiao)

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