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67 killed in scaffolding collapse on China building site

Published 24/11/2016

The scaffolding collapse happened at a site in Jiangxi province in eastern China
The scaffolding collapse happened at a site in Jiangxi province in eastern China

Sixty-seven people have been killed, with two other workers injured and one missing after scaffolding collapsed at a power plant construction site in eastern China, state media reported.

State broadcaster CCTV said more than 100 paramilitary police have joined the rescue effort.

The plant's cooling tower which was being built in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi province came crashing down at about 7.30am local time, an official with the local Work Safety Administration said.

The latest reported death toll suggests that nearly all the construction workers at the cooling tower perished. Local media reports said about 70 people were working at the site when the scaffolding collapsed.

Rescue workers, aided by search dogs, were digging through the debris with their bare hands, according to the state television report, which showed iron pipes, steel bars and wooden planks strewn across the floor of the massive concrete cooling tower.

Rescue dogs were seeking to locate survivors or the bodies of victims, while diggers shifted wreckage to the margins of the massive round tower.

China has suffered a series of major industrial accidents over recent months, 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 a massive explosion at an illegal chemical warehouse in the northern port of Tianjin last year which killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers.

In June 2015, 442 people were killed in the capsize on the Yangtze River of a modified cruise ship blamed on poor decisions made by the captain and crew, while 81 people were killed in December when an enormous, man-made mountain of soil and waste collapsed on nearly three dozen buildings in the southern manufacturing center of Shenzhen.

Construction on the 1,000-megawatt coal-fired unit in Fengcheng began in late 2015 and was expected to finish in November 2017.

In recent weeks Chinese officials have sent mixed signals about the future of coal in the country's energy production.

Although Beijing has vowed to solve a looming problem of power oversupply, economic planners said earlier in November that they intend to boost coal power generation capacity by a fifth over the next five years, or the equivalent output of hundreds of new coal-fired plants.

AP

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