Chinese army officer drowns while retrieving chemical barrels

August 1st, 2010 - 2:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 1 (IANS) A senior Chinese army official was swept away by floodwaters while trying to retrieve chemical-filled barrels from a swollen river in China’s Jilin province. His body was found a day later, military officials said Sunday.
Guan Xizhi, chief of staff in an engineer corps at Shenyang military command, was swept away by floodwaters on the Songhua river Friday. His body was found Saturday, Xinhua reported citing army officers.

The man and four others were tying boats with chains to block the downstream passage of the thousands of barrels, when they were pulled in by the strong currents. All but Guan were rescued.

Some 3,000 chemical-filled barrels and 4,000 empty ones were swept into the Songhua Wednesday after floods hit a warehouses of two chemical companies in Jilin city. Each barrel contained about 170 kg of trimethyl chloro silicane and hexamethyl disilazane.

Workers retrieved over 5,000 barrels by Sunday, and tests conducted by authorities showed the river water to be safe.

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