A powerful blast ripped through an automotive parts factory in eastern China yesterday, killing 65 and injuring at least 150.

The explosion occurred at 7:30am local time (12.30am GMT) in the city of Kunshan, in Jiangsu province.

Pictures posted online show thick smoke billowing from the factory, which is owned by Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products, a supplier to General Motors.

Initial reports claim pollution inside the plant could have caused the explosion, as authorities launched an investigation. Rescue measures are also under way.

Two managers of the plant, which is roughly the size of a football field, are being questioned by the police.

Almost half of the plant's 450 workers were inside inside during the explosion.

Local media have reported that workers' family members claim the factory was always dirty and employees weren't given proper training.

Medical authorities say most of the victims are being treated for burns, while nearby hospitals are swelling with those injured in the explosion.

China factory blast
Rescuers help an injured man get off a bus near a hospital after the factory explosion. Reuters
China factory blast
Residents walk around one of the factory's damaged buildings. Reuters
China factory blast
Rescuers help the victims of an explosion at the gate of the factory. Reuters
China factory blast
Rescuers help a victim of the explosion get to a hospital. Reuters
China factory blast
An injured man lies inside a bus as he is transported to a hospital. Reuters
China factory blast
Medical personnel transport a victim to a hospital after the explosion. Reuters