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Explosion at fireworks factory in Thailand kills 23 people

An explosion at a fireworks factory in Thailand has killed at least 23 people, officials in the country say.

Rescue workers at the scene - some 60 miles north-west of the capital, Bangkok - said no survivors had been found.

The cause of the blast in Suphan Buri province is under investigation, but police confirmed there had been a previous explosion at the factory, in November 2022, in which one worker died.

Photos posted on social media showed a thick plume of black smoke rising over the scene of the blast in an otherwise unoccupied rice field.

It came less than a month before Chinese New Year in February, when demand for fireworks is strong.

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The office of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, distributed a video showing him being told over the phone by the regional police commander that there were 20 to 30 workers at the factory at the time of the explosion and that none of them could be found.

The catastrophe happened less than a year after a large explosion at a fireworks warehouse in the south of the country killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 100, according to officials.

That explosion in Narathiwat province was in a residential area and damaged about 100 houses within a 500-metre (1,640ft) radius.