Collapse of scaffold platform supporting building cranes leaves 67 dead, one missing and only two injured survivors
South China Morning Post
Rescuers work at the construction disaster site at the Fengcheng power plant in Yichun, Jiangxi province, on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua
A construction disaster killed all but three of 70 workers on the site of new power station in eastern China on Thursday.
The accident, in Yichun, Jiangxi province, occurred at about 7am when a scaffold platform supporting cranes collapsed inside a cooling tower, the central government said on its website.
Sixty seven workers were killed, and two survivors were taken to taken to hospital. Rescuers were still looking for a worker who remained trapped under the debris, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Videos televised by the broadcaster showed dozens of rescuers pulling planks and twisted pipes from the debris.
The cause of the accident is not clear.
A work unit would be set up to assist family members of the victims, Jiangxi’s deputy governor Li Yihuang said at an afternoon press conference.
He also pledged to investigate the cause of the accident.
“All departments in the province must learn from this accident, conduct a systematic check and address all the safety risks,” Li said.
The third-phase extension project at the Fengcheng Power Station started in July last year. It included two one-gigawatt generation units, according to the Jiangxi Development and Reform Commission.
The first unit would scheduled to start operating on November 28, 2017, and the second would be finished in 2018.
On September 13, the company launched a campaign named “Work Hard Together for 100 Days”, calling workers at the power station to speed up the construction and while heeding work safety.
Local governments are yet to follow Beijing’s call to slow down the expansion of coal-fired power plants in efforts to reduce overcapacity and tackle environmental problems.
Environmental group Greenpeace recorded a surge in constructing new thermal power plants even after the national power authority introduced new measures in April to curb the trend.
Construction accidents are frequently reported in China, sparking criticism that the central and local governments have have ignored safety violations in their haste to complete projects.
On October 31, 33 miners died after a gas explosion at a coal mine in Chongqing.
Three workers in the northern city of Shenyang died on October 19 after a road collapsed over a subway station under construction.
A series of major industrial accidents across the nation in recent months have been blamed on corruption, disregard for safety and pressure to boost production amid a slowing economy.
The head of a logistics company was recently handed a suspended death sentence over the massive explosion at an illegal chemical warehouse in Tianjin last year that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers.
In June 2015, 442 passengers drowned when a modified cruise ship capsized during a sudden storm on the Yangtze River. The tragedy was blamed on poor decisions by the captain and crew.
In the southern manufacturing centre of Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong, 81 people were killed in December an man-made mountain of soil and building waste collapsed on nearly three dozen buildings housing workers.
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