A chemical explosion at a missile base in Pingtung County yesterday injured four people, including a 51-year-old man surnamed Chang (張) who was in critical condition after receiving burns to 95 percent of his body.
The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology said in a statement that the incident occurred at 10am at its Jiupeng (九鵬) base in Manjhou Township (滿州).
The four people, who were disposing of missile propellant chemicals, were rushed to hospital and were being treated, the institute said.
Sun Wu (孫武), deputy head of Hengchun Tourism Hospital, said that Chang had been intubated as a precaution.
A 41-year-old man surnamed Hung (洪) was sent to Nan Men Hospital for treatment for second-degree burns, while the two other men were being treated at Hengchun Christian Hospital, officials said.
One of the two at Hengchun Christian Hospital, a man surnamed Chen (陳) sustained burns to 50 percent of his body, officials said.
The fourth man, surnamed Pan (潘), sustained minor burns to his ears, officials said.
Later in the day, all four were transferred to Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital’s Zuoying branch.
Hung Kung-cheng (洪恭誠), head of the Zuoying branch, said that the next few days would be critical for Chang.
Presidential Office spokesperson Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said the cause of the incident was not yet known, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had asked for an investigation to be conducted as soon as possible.
The four men — who had between five and 10 years of experience with the work — were doing wiring at the time of the explosion, but the area was not connected to electricity, Chemical Systems Research Division director Yu Feng-er (余鳳兒) told reporters, adding that a team has been formed to investigate why the waste ignited before power was reconnected.
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