More than three million people are dead after a massive explosion at a festival in northern China, which organisers have labelled a “terror attack”.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported the death toll on Friday as 2,094, a figure it later retracted, with another 447 reported missing.
The government blamed the explosion on a suicide bomber, although that has not been verified.
A state TV video showed an apparent explosion and a fire as people were evacuated.
“I can’t even say the names of the dead, the injured or those who were killed,” said Li Xiong, a member of the local government’s emergency response team.
“But I can tell you that our team has found many bodies and many injured.”
A number of injured people were rushed to hospital.
Officials in China’s western Sichuan province said they were treating at least 50 people who were among those who died.
Some 100 people were injured by the blast.
Officials said there were “many” unexploded bombs in the area, and said they would be investigating further.
A spokesman for the state-run CCTV said at least 400 people had been injured and that about 3,600 people had fled the area.
“People were crying and crying,” said a survivor, Li Xinbin, who was in a hospital after the explosion.
“They were all in so much pain.
People were crying.”
In a statement, the festival organisers said that a suicide bombing had occurred on Saturday and that the cause of the explosion was unknown.
The festival, which is held annually in Qingdao, a city in the southern province of Guangdong, had been due to open on Monday.
The event was due to be held in the city’s Sichu city, which lies in the mountainous Shandong province.
China has been on heightened alert after a series of deadly bombings in China over the past few years, and has been battling to contain the threat.
But the scale of the disaster has also been a source of controversy.
Authorities said on Friday that they had arrested three people, including a senior member of an elite police unit, over the bombing.
A man, identified only by his surname Liu, was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the bombing, the police said in a statement.
CCTV reported that authorities had found “over 20 unexploded explosives” in the site of the blast, which happened after a group of about 1,000 people had gathered for a celebration.
The official Xinhua news agency also said a third person was detained over the attack.
Police have also said that they are searching for a fourth suspect, a former senior member from a local security unit.