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Wounded Chinese workers in Congo blasts set off for home aboard chartered plane

03-10-2012 09:22 BJT

BRAZZAVILLE, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A chartered plane arranged by Beijing took off on Friday night in Brazzaville, capital of Republic of Congo, to take home 31 wounded Chinese workers from last week's arsenal blasts in the city.

An injured Chinese worker is being carried to an ambulance heading to the airport in
Brazzaville, capital of Republic of Congo, March 9, 2012. A chartered plane arranged by
Beijing took off here on Friday night, taking home 31 wounded Chinese workers from last
week's arsenal blasts in Brazzaville. (Xinhua/Wang Minjie)

The plane set off at 8:00 p.m. local time from the Maya Maya Airport. It is expected to land in Beijing on Saturday night after a 16-hour flight. "We have already assessed the workers' wounds to ensure that they can undergo the long-distance flight," said Yang Zhiqiang, a senior official with the Beijing Municipal government, who is also in charge of the operation. "They will be receiving medical treatment in hospitals in Beijing."

Also aboard the plane are five Chinese medical experts who were dispatched to Brazzaville by Beijing shortly after the blasts to tend to the wounded.

The blasts, which the local government said was caused by an electrical short circuit in an arms depot in Brazzaville, claimed more than 200 lives and wounded over 1,500. Six Chinese workers out of about 140 who were working at a nearby construction site were killed in the blasts.

"I am greatly relieved to know that I will be home soon. I have been looking forward to receiving medical treatment back in China, " said 50-year-old Sun Zhiguo, who is suffering from forearm fracture due to the blasts.

"Through the operation by the Chinese government, we feel the strengthen and warmth of our country," Sun's co-worker Du Haitao, who is intact from the blasts, told Xinhua when attending to his ailing friends in the ward.

Earlier this week, a Chinese working group reached the Republic of Congo after Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng urgently summoned Felix Ngoma, charge d'affaires of the Republic of Congo's Embassy in China.

Xie urged the Republic of Congo to take all necessary measures to rescue and treat the injured Chinese, saying the Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding its overseas citizens.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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