An explosion at a chemical factory located in east China's Jiangsu province has killed at least five people and left 10 more injured. Several people were also reported as missing but the number of casualties and missing people has not been confirmed officially.

The blast occurred on April 16, around 10:00 a.m. local time, at the Shuangma Chemical Plant in Rugao City, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. Local authorities said that two bodies were found on the scene by emergency response units that arrived at the plant. Three other people died while they were receiving treatment in hospital. A total of 12 people were admitted to hospitals with injuries from the explosion, media reports said, quoting sources from the local publicity department.

The explosion caused a subsequent fire that made a search for the missing people impossible. After the fire had been extinguished, rescue teams started a search operation for people who may have been trapped under the remains of the building.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion has been launched, the news agency reported. Sources from the local environmental protection authorities said there was no serious air or water pollution resulting from the blast.

The Shuangma Chemical Plant has been in operation since 1997 and produces edible palm oil, or stearic acid.