At least 44 people are known to have died with more than 500 injured after two huge explosions rocked the Chinese city of Tianjin.

At least 12 firefighters are amongst the dead, China’s state Xinhua news agency said, and 36 remain missing.

A total of 520 people have been hospitalized, including 66 critically injured.

The explosions occurred at around 23:30 local time (15:30 GMT) on Wednesday at a warehouse storing “dangerous and chemical goods” in the Binhai New Development Zone area of the city in north-east China.

Nearby tower blocks were destroyed, hundreds of cars burnt out, buildings within a 2km radius had their windows blown out, and a large section of the city was left without power following the blast.

The explosion could be seen from space, with the second blast, equivalent to 21 tonnes of TNT, showing up on satellite images.

Shock waves from the blast were recorded by seismic activity recorded 160km away in Beijing.

The cause of the explosions remains unclear and factory executives are being questioned by police.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have urged all-out efforts to save the injured and minimize casualties in the Tianjin blast.

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