Taipei: At least 24 people have been killed and 271 injured in gas leak explosions in a Taiwan city, an official said on Friday.
Officials said the casualties in the accident in Kaohsiung City could go up as the explosions caused a road surface to collapse and people might have fallen into big holes.
The island's fire-fighting authority said gas leaks were reported in the city's Cianjhen district at 9 pm on Thursday, leading to multiple explosions that affected an area as large as three sq.km.
Jiang Yi-huah, the island's executive chief, is coordinating the rescue operations at an emergency response centre that was put into operation early on Friday.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said the incident was the worst of its kind in the recent decade.
The island's military force has deployed more than 300 soldiers to carry the rescue work.