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18 confirmed dead in Pakistan shipyard fire

By Ed Adamczyk
18 confirmed dead in Pakistan shipyard fire
Eighteen people died, officials said, when a fire broke out on an oil tanker being dismantled in Gadani, Pakistan. Photo courtesy of Rehan Khan/European Press Agency

GADANI , Pakistan, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- At least 18 people were confirmed dead after a fire in an oil tanker being disassembled in a Gadani, Pakistan, shipyard, officials said Wednesday.

About 100 workers were inside the ship Tuesday, dismantling it, when eight explosions ripped through the hull, followed by a fast-spreading fire. Some of those who escaped jumped into the water, the India Express reported. Rescue operations were slowed because only one fire engine was present.

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About 50 workers were injured.

The ship arrived at the ship-breaking facility on Oct. 22, and bought by Ghafoor and Company. Owner Abdul Ghafoor has been missing since Tuesday, and police arrested the contractor who hired the workers, Geo News reported.

The ship was still ablaze on Wednesday, and Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan said the explosion sent pierces of the ship flying up to one mile in the air. He added Karachi firefighters, as well as Pakistan's navy and air force, were attempting to extinguish the fire.

Baluchistan's Provincial Disaster Management Authority and Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority are also involved in the rescue operation.

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