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Dalian beaches closed in wake of oil spill

07-21-2010 09:44 BJT

BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Bangchui island, a popular holiday resort east of Dalian, was closed to tourists indefinitely on Tuesday morning following an oil spill caused by an offshore pipeline explosion last week.

Several bathing beaches in the port city were also fenced off.

Two crude oil pipelines exploded in Dalian's Xingang port late last Friday, triggering a fire that was extinguished after 15 hours.

The blasts, however, caused an oil slick that had stretched 183 sq km off the Dalian coast by Tuesday.

Hundreds of soldiers and local residents on Tuesday joined in the efforts to clean up the Bangchui island beach, which reeked of oil.

Firefighter Zhang Liang, 25, was killed on Tuesday working on the clean-up mission, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhang and his fellow soldier, Han Xiaoxiong, were pushed into the sea by a huge wave. But Han was rescued later.

On Tuesday, more than 800 fishing boats joined the massive oil spill clean-up, according to local authorities. But heavy rains and strong winds forced most of the small-sized boats back to port.

The Fujiazhuang Coastal Resort, situated in the southern part of the city, had reported some slick approaching, said Luo Chao, director of the resort, adding they have fenced off the oil on the sea to prevent it from polluting the coastal park.

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