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President pledges to ensure no more explosions of gas pipelines

KAOHSIUNG -- President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday instructed the Cabinet to conduct a close examination of the deadly gas explosions in Kaohsiung two days prior and to take resolute action to prevent similar disasters in the future.

On his visit to the southern city to see families of the victims and those injured in the accident, Ma said the explosions were the worst Taiwan has ever seen and everyone “definitely does not want to see this happen again.”

While administrative and judicial investigations have been launched to pinpoint responsibility, both the central and local governments should take a hard look at the incident in order to prevent similar occurrences, he said.

In particular, there should be better design and more effective management of underground pipeline systems so as to minimize risks, he said.

The series of explosions late Thursday just before midnight in Cianjhen District killed at least 28 and left over 280 injured.

According to the city's Environmental Protection Bureau, the explosions were triggered by a leak in an underground pipeline used by LCY Chemical Corp. to obtain propylene from one of its suppliers.

While in Kaohsiung, the president went to a municipal funeral parlor to pay respects to the victims and send his condolences to their bereaved families. He also visited the injured at the Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital as well as firefighters and soldiers who took part in the rescue efforts.

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